Yesterday, we went to the Mennonite Heritage Village. We visited the 1911 one room school house, the 1902 barn, the giant windmill and of course the animals in the barn. It was hot, and while resting under a tree as the boys explored the 2010 Bouncy Castle, I spied a water spigot. I called the boys over and they were delighted to quench their thirst.
While this was going on, two interesting things happened. A group of near-by kids were shocked that they could actually drink “straight from the tap!” They had never done this before and they were thrilled to have water and to drink in such a unique way.
What really shocked me, however, was another family group who was also watching us. The little girl, seeing cold water, asked her mother if she could have some. The mother’s response? “No, that is dirty, I will buy you some bottled water.”
This was not city treated water, but it was in no way “dirty water.” It was from the same aquafier the city draws its water from, minus the chlorine treatment. On top of that, because it was straight from the source, it was naturally cooled by the earth and probably colder than the bottled water the mother wanted to buy.
It is a shame that the little girl was not able to try the water; it was wonderful and cold. Everyone else who tried was refreshed and enjoyed the experience. However, I am not surprised. Far too often in today’s society, we worry about the what if’s. What if the water is unclean, what if someone’s germs is on the tap? It’s not just water, this permeates society, especially when children are involved. What if my snowflake falls off the merry-go-round, what if the volunteer is a sexual predator? Instead of focusing on the joy of the simple things that make life magical, we try to stop them, just in case, because you never know. Is that little girl any safer than my children because she didn’t drink the water? Probably not. Did she lose anything from missing out on the experience? Yes, she lost a chance to see the world from a different angle, an angle that only comes from drinking, with a head tilted, catching water in your mouth.