We've heard a lot of different versions of this song, but we're all in agreement that our favorite version is the one performed by The Skydiggers (which just so happens to be the version I'd used in the photo montage for The Hilarious Givers I created, last year.)
Initially, the kids liked the song because of the soulful guitar. But when I explained to them what the lyrics actually meant, their imaginations took flight and they reenacted a few of the scenes. Specifically, they set out to gather winter's fuel = pick up sticks from our front yard and then, pretend they were walking through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather.
In my lifetime, I really hope to teach my children a lot of things. But nurturing in each of them a compassionate heart may be one of the most important things I do as a mother. So after the children had asked to hear this song for the 50th time in five days, we were struck with an idea.
In honor of the upcoming 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts (in 2012) and to help make this Christmas a little more bright for some local families, we conducted a scout-wide toy drive for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots. Our Daisy Girl Scout troop, set a goal of collecting 100 new, unwrapped toys or books. But soon after Charlie heard what we were up to, he recruited his Tiger Cub Scout den to do the same. This was our dining room table with the various toys our neighbors had generously donated throughout the week...
All of those toys, plus several bags more, were dropped off at a local fire house, which serves as an official Toys for Tots donation center.
The firemen gave the children a lesson on fire safety and I thought it was fantastic how he offered them an opportunity to really study his face before he added several layers of personal protective equipment.
The BIG takeaway is that instead of running the other way screaming, just remember: the scary looking guy in a mask is a fireman that very well might slide down the pole yelling like Tarzan. And the whole reason he is there is to help.
They let the kids check out all the firetrucks and ambulances and we marveled over the trousers and boots that were ready for the men (and women) to jump in to before they rushed off on an alarm. They said that having their clothes ready to pull on, can save several valuable seconds when they're in a rush and can mean the difference between life or death.
Seeing this "clothing station" gave me a whole new idea that I plan to implement after the winter break. It takes so long to get ready around here in the morning, it's a miracle if we can get out of the house before 8. To counteract the morning chaos, I'd been debating just putting the kids directly to bed in the clothes they were going to wear the following day.
But this approach may cut down on wrinkles - both on the children's clothing and my face.