A few years back I bought the book “The Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv. It’s a great read in which the author writes about his own experiences tromping through fields; mourns the loss of such wholesome and useful activities among present-day youth; and offers suggestions about how to revive a little ones’ love for the backyard wild.
Read the book and see if you don’t escort your children outside, shut the door and tell them to go and have at it. I did, and I’m still waiting for them to come in.
No, really, since my first son was a baby, we’ve been mostly outdoorsy people. Perhaps it’s because we’ve always been financially challenged: We could afford a $2 county park entry fee and hike near a river, whereas a $50 movie excursion did not suit our budget.
Nah, that’s not it. It just made sense to us that the outdoors would be where our children would learn and grow. The outdoors has the potential for every life lesson and includes every science — botany, chemistry, biology, et al — as well as opportunity for a child to find his passion, be it engineering waterways, veterinary medicine or writing while inspired by birdsong. For some reason, even our deep conversations seem deeper around a campfire, and our best “family time” is weeding together in the garden.
Do you need some ideas to get your children outside? Start with Richard Louv’s book. Local ideas? Check this out:
In recent days I met an interesting woman, Carla Gull. Carla is a mother who, like me, was always “scouring” the Internet — her words — to find things in Michiana for her and her children to do. In her searches, also like me, she preferred to find outdoor things like nature hikes and bird watching; she preferred venues like woods and ponds.
Carla found plenty of things to do in Michiana, but “I kept thinking that it would be great to have all of these events on one calendar,” Carla’s blog reads. “The idea festered and festered until I couldn’t sleep until I got it started.” So Carla did what I admire most what people do when they see a need: She just did it herself.
Now, with no real pay or glory, Carla maintains the web site Inside Outside Michiana, a place where she lists all sorts of outdoors-related activities in Michiana. People like you and me are blessed to find that info here: http://insideoutsidemichiana.blogspot.com/. Check out her page, maybe make a donation if she accepts them. I thank you, Carla, for your work along these lines. You’re definitely bookmarked.
Now, get thee and thy children outside.
Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, midwife’s assistant and nursing student. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”