Having grown up in a suburban area, yet spent time in preteen and teen years on weekends in a wooded setting, I (surprisingly) have trouble connecting offspring to nature. Husband (a former hillbilly) struggles similarly – he’d be happy living in an area, with a laptop on one knee and his rifle on the other, ready to pick off a deer in between keystrokes. But with a nascent private practice and a high-tech job (with plenty of “on-call”), we struggle to coordinate our down time, non-errand time, and outside time with good weather time. It has been a very soggy summer.
Another challenge is that offspring just does not want to go outside. It’s this fear of bees, wasps and all things that creep and bite and sting. He spends far too much time playing with plastic blocks, digital gadgets, and other plastic blaster-type toys. He is even more entrenched in the digital world than we are, making stop-motion videos with those blocks, watching other videos for yet more ideas, and then playing various computer games. How did we, as parents, get so far astray from how we were raised?
Instead of fretting too much about “what went wrong?”, I’ve decided to take action. And for me, that means starting with reading relevant material. In an attempt to figure out how to help make that connection between offspring and nature, I started with “How to Raise a Wild Child” . In spite of not taking a lot of time to read it, I do recommend it because the parts that I did read were beautifully written.
Two gems found within:
- Did you know that there is an organization called the Children and Nature Network? There might be a community near you to help you get connected with other families, who are also struggling to make that nature-child connection…
- Find a “sit spot” – even if it is at the window, on your deck/porch – and listen, observe for a set minimum amount of time (5 minutes sounds like a good starting point). But do this with your child. What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? I read about this notion a few years ago but this book has just reminded me that offspring is at about the right (preteen, ack!) to do this.
I’ve created a board on my pinterest page, “Nature Connection”, that you can peruse for a kickstart into this child-nature connection process, including links to books and online programs (some of which were mentioned in this book). Shoot me a note if you find something (anything, really!) that would be helpful to others who are similarly struggling.