From the time my son was able to walk, he's been collecting things in his pockets. Rocks, bones, feathers, seeds... you name it, and I've found it in my washing machine. He's inquisitive, and ALWAYS needs to know the details of everything he finds. Once he learned to read, it opened up a world of exploration for him, and it gave me a small break from having to explain the intricacies of life to him every two minutes. He gathers up his "treasures", takes them to his room, and learns everything he can about them in books. Neither of my girls have ever had the urge to investigate the world in this way.
I'm convinced that God hard-wired boys to live for adventure, and exploration. I went into my son's room the other day to help him clean it, and was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of "treasures" he has collected. He has snake sheddings, rattlesnake rattlers, a squirrel skeleton, Indian pottery, arrowheads, craw-dad claws, and deer antlers in his toy box, all mixed in with G.I Joes, and Nerf guns. And don't get me started on the rocks in his desk drawer. The frustration began to mount when I asked him to throw away a dead baby bird in a cracked egg shell that he was keeping in a Ziploc bag. "But mom, it's sooo cool to see what a real baby bird looks like in the shell" he protested. At that moment, I realized that my disregard for his "treasures" was hurting him. By studying these things that I viewed as trash, he was getting an education. I immediately stopped trying to rid the room of the stuff, and I started asking him about it all. He told me that snakes shed their skin when they grow, and craw-dads were an invasive species in our lakes and streams. He began to identify his rocks by type, and told me about the methods Indians used to make arrowheads. He showed me how a squirrel's jaw moves, and made the rattling sounds of two bucks fighting with his antlers. He came to life when he shared his treasures.
Today we went for a walk, and he carefully followed the tracks of an unknown animal. "Mom, are those bear tracks? They're huge!" he said.
" I'm not sure, we'll have to look them up when we get home" I said.
" Mom, look at that tree that the woodpeckers filled with acorns! Awesome!" he said.
Ten minutes later he picked up a skull of some type of rodent.
"Check out the teeth on this animal! I bet it's a mouse. What do you think, Mom?"
Five more minutes go by and we're at the lake and he's picking up a dead craw-fish head.
"Son, put that stinky thing down!"
" Mom, I'm a boy, and that's what boys do."
He's right. That is what boys do. They also open their mother's eyes to the big huge world around her, and help her not to miss the details that I'm certain would pass right by her, completely unnoticed. I'm trying hard to stand back and let him be the boy that God designed him to be, and not to squelch his insatiable hunger for knowledge. It's best if a mom learns not to get in the way of a boy and his treasures.