I learned this, at least, by my experiment;
that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
-Henry David Thoreau
I went through a corn maze recently with the kids. We split up, boys and girls; my boys are hitting that age where most things are uncool when you do them with your mother.
Cass was off like a flash. I had, in retrospect, not worn the most practical shoes for maze running (Sundays are my dress up day, meaning I’m not in workout gear), and I really had to work to keep pace with her, kept calling for her to wait as she whipped around a corner out of view, her hair flying behind her.
No hesitation. At the end of each row, a quick turn to the right or the left, a desire to see how quickly she could exit the maze, a perfect confidence that she would get there. No time for uncertainty.
When it became clear that we were retracing our steps (not so much going in circles as going in tetris shapes), there was no hemming and hawing, she just pulled off an ear of corn and started dropping kernels. Hansel and Gretel in a cornfield.
It was pretty much a meaningless task— she clearly wasn’t the first to think of it as the path was already littered with kernels— but it kept her distracted and full of confidence. She was doing something.
The boys had trotted more quickly through the maze, not even trying to get to the end before finding their way to the exit. No sightseeing, no fairy tale imaginings. They just sat and waited for us to be done.
I think they missed out.
As parents, we are always learning from our kids. That afternoon I learned that sometimes being lost is half the fun. It’s where the story is, anyway. The dreaming. The living.
Also, the path is easier when you wear sensible shoes.
(But perhaps not as memorable.)