Have you ever experienced the joy of watching children do something all by themselves for the very first time? Whether it be learning how to hold their own bottle, feed themselves, tie their own shoes, ride a bike, learn how to sound out a word…All moments of growth in a childhood mark a sense of independence and pride. The Bear’s Autumn by Keizabur Tejima is a tender story about a child’s “firsts” and a mother’s role in facilitating a few of life’s lessons.
Mother Bear and her baby bear sit along the river’s edge waiting for the salmon to swim by. Patience is the first lesson taught as Baby Bear eagerly says,”Will they come? Will they really come?” and his mother calmly responds, “Yes, of course they will.”
Next lesson, courage and determination as the Mother Bear dives in beneath the water and comes up with a big salmon in her mouth. Baby Bear comes over to her and her response is, “Go catch one for yourself”.
How easy would it be for the mother to just give the baby bear the salmon? One of life’s biggest lessons are unveiled next: independence, accountability for self, and the ability to be resourceful. Sure enough, Baby Bear rises to the occasion and attempts to catch his own salmon. Not successful at first, Baby bear exhibits bravery and determination as he tries and tries again.
Alas, the triumph and pride...“Baby Bear eats salmon for the first time in his life. How good it tastes, the salmon he has caught all by himself!”
Complete with woodblock print illustrations reflective of autumn and the colored leaves, The Bears’ Autumn brings to mind the Chinese Proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Amy is the mother of four girls and is the developer of Pre K Scholars.