Sunday, July 31, 2011

As they walked and walked and walked…

Last Sunday as part of our Pioneer Primary sharing time we had all the children go on a little “trek” around the outside of the chapel to visit Kirtland, Nauvoo, and Salt Lake City and meet “pioneers” who helped build temples.  As we went with the children from one location to the next we all sang songs, especially the one about how “pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked…”

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Bryan playing a dashing version of Heber J. Grant for the Primary children.
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Yay for modern pioneers: I made the apron
with a pocket just the right size to conceal a Galaxy Tab.

Afterwards another primary worker and I wondered, did the pioneer children *really* sing as they walked and walked? We could think of so many other more-likely verbs (complained, picked on their siblings, dawdled, etc.)…did they *really* sing?

Then this past weekend we went camping with some friends to Fillmore Glen State Park.  Since the girls never sleep-in anyway, we all decided to get up early, snack on fruit bars and poptarts, and then go for a morning hike before doing a hot breakfast.  There’s a beautiful trail that climbs up and down a gorge in the park and is peppered with bridges, waterfalls, and stone staircases.  We had even heard that it rivaled Watkins Glen and were excited to see for ourselves.  The only problem?  It was a round-trip distance of three miles and somewhat more ambitious than what we've done before.

After arming the girls with little backpacks, water bottles, and dried fruit we set out.  The walk was gorgeous (gorge-ous? :) and much to our delight, the girls did great.  They pretended to be Dora and Boots, fearlessly whipping out their maps at every crossroads along the way, inspecting every frog, flower, and chipmunk hole to be found, and keeping pace for the most part like pros.  


There was one point, though, where we began to worry if the girls were going to make it.  We were just over half-way and at a place where we needed to move from the gorge trail to the south-rim trail in order to head back towards camp.  The novelty of the trek had worn off, we were facing a big up-hill hike, and it looked like we might be a camel’s straw away from some serious toddler meltdowns.

Enjoying the view of a waterfall along the way.
Robyn posing with the "heart rock" she noticed down in the gorge.

And then Robyn tugged my hand and whispered to me, “we should sing the pioneer song.”  Which pioneer song?  “The one where they walked and walked and walked.”  And so she sang.  And sang and sang and sang.  Our friend Claire, who held hands with Robyn for a long stretch on the return trek, was literally serenaded over and over as Robyn went through her whole toddler-brain-database of songs.  

Finally we made it back to our tent after 2 hours of hiking and, much to our relief, the girls were still smiling, chattering, and eager to devour some eggs and bacon, the fun parts of the trail already overshadowing the rough sections.  At that point I remembered the conversation I’d had after Primary the week before.  Obviously our little recreational outing was nothing compared to what the pioneers did, and I’m sure there was weariness and well-deserved-whining on the plains, but listening to the girls recount how many bridges they went over and enthusiastically hide acorns for each other to find, I think there were also some decidedly delightful moments for pioneer children along the way, despite the difficulties.  And I’m *sure* there were lots of times where they really did sing as they walked.  

How the girls organized themselves for sleeping while we camped.  We put them to bed all tidy in their own sleeping bags only to later find Robyn in Daddy's bag with Mommy's pillow, Amber having kicked her way completely out of her bag, and Katie just sprawled out between them.


  1. I want to be in your primary!!! Your really are an amazing woman and have such sweet little girls who, I have no doubt, will turn out as high-quality as you.

  2. Another great post :-). Just goes to show us again that they really are listening and learning when we are trying to teach them! So glad they made good little pioneers last weekend! What fun and what a great lesson learned by all.