Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nature is calling....

Hahaha.... I bet the title conjures up some intersting images in your mind. That is not at all where I am going with this. I am currently reading a book called The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. It is a book about the changes that have occured over the course of a decade or so on where our children play. Here is a couple of quotes that caught my eye when I opened the book, please note the huge difference between them.
The first one says "There was a child went forth every day, and the first object he look'd upon, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day, Or for many years or stretching cycles of years. The early lilacs became part of this child, And grass and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover; and the song of the pheobe-bird, And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter; and the mare's foul and the cow's calf,..." ~Walt Whitman

The second one says, " I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." ~A Fourth-Grader in San Diego.

Wow, what a difference. My first thought was "Is there really any truth to this?" The answer is YES. This is really happenening to our society. The kids stay inside and stare at a box or play with their games (not board games mind you). The television has become a babysitter. Ouch! A very good friend of mine did a survey with the teachers in a local town. The teachers sent home instructions for the students in their classes to simply write down every time their feet touched grass. The results were scary. I don't remember the exact numbers, but a majority of students touched the grass with thier feet once every two week. Yes, two week. For some of them, it was every three weeks. Which meant that the students went from home to school by way of the garage to the car to the school parking lot to the sidewalk and in to the school.. then visa versa. The same went for things they did out of school. THEY NEVER PLAYED OUTSIDE. I was amazed to hear that.

As a child I remember going outside with my siblings and playing ball or running..... just running. I never stopped to look at the flowers or trees, and I never learned much about nature, but I knew what poison ivy was and I knew that there were bugs, ants, spiders, SNAKES (unfortunately I had to coexist with the copperheads) all around me.

Since marrying Davy Crockett (that's another blog and no I really didn't marry Davy Crockett, just someone who loves nature) and homeschooling my kids, I have learned so much about the outside world. We started nature journaling, becuase I had a very dear friend who loved to do that, so she taught me. My kids and I love to journal. It helps their knowledge of God's world as well as their artist abilities. I must stop and say that there are times (just like a few minutes ago) that I realize my kids have spent too much time inside. So, I have to remind them and myself that God's world is waiting for them just beyound the front door.

If you and your kids are interested in nature journaling, I suggest you check out your local art supply store or nearest Missouri Dept. of Conservation office for some nice journals. You don't even have to do that; just take several pieces of printer paper (hey, when did we stop calling it typing paper?) and fold them in half. Glue or staple the seams and then your are on your way. Have your kids decorate the front of their books, give them a pencil or colored pencils and send them and your self outside. My good friend, Gladys, suggests not giving them erasers. That was a hard one for me, because I wanted to be perfect in my drawings. It taught me to really stop and look at what I was drawing and to accept what I drew. God makes no mistakes.

I hope you all have a great day getting yourself and your kids outside and learning about the great big world God has made. It is amazing what you will learn. You can see God in every corner of nature. Have fun!

~Gayla




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