I am concerned that even though I live in a distinctly rural area, my kids are living a suburban life. They don't play as much as I think they should. We tend to think of kid activities as things we must take them to. Yet our house is surrounded by woods. I can't think of a better playground. It's not that the girls aren't interested in it, either. The eldest loves all things vegetable, animal and mineral. But tell them go to outside and there are a million reasons why things get uncomfortable or scary and the boomerang back in.
An article I recently came across in Drive Magazine made me think of this more. Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that we are raising kids who are very "concerned" about "the environment" but don't actually spend much time in it.
Within the space of a few decades, the way children understand and experience nature has changed radically. The polarity of the relationship has reversed. Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment – but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading. That’s exactly the opposite of how it was when I was a child. As a boy, I was unaware that my woods were ecologically connected with any other forests. Nobody in the 1950s talked about acid rain or holes in the ozone layer or global warming. But I knew my woods and my fields; I knew every bend in the creek and dip in the beaten dirt paths. I wandered those woods even in my dreams. A kid today can likely tell you about the Amazon rain forest – but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude, or lay in a field listening to the wind and watching the clouds move.
Worth Reading and thinking about. I'm sending my kids out there and locking the door. It's for their own good.