This weekend we spent our Saturday morning walking some trails in a local conservancy. We had a delightful time trucking through the woods. It was especially nice to get away from the city for a couple of hours.
Last year I read Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods. While this is a purely secular book and there are some things I don’t agree with, it really made me think about the importance of my kids spending time outside. Louv believes, among other things, childhood obesity and attention deficit disorder, both reaching epidemic numbers in the US, are, in part, caused by children not spending enough time in nature.
Children need the freedom and time to roam, play, and discover. While you may not agree with all of his assessments, it is universally acknowledged that children are not outside enough. And if they are outside, it is usually of the asphalt playground or organized sports variety. Not romping around the woods, digging in dirt, or catching toads.
I have also been reading more of Charlotte Mason’s works who believes that a key component in a child’s education should be nature studies and spending time outdoors.
We have always tried to take our kids outside as much as possible. But I will be honest, lately this has been really difficult for me. We live in the city. And not only are we in a city, we live in a very populated apartment community. It is not as if nature is at my front door.
I do try to take them outside and let them play in the dirt as much as possible. But in order to really spend time enjoying trees, flowers, animal life, and water, I have to be extremely intentional. It’s not easy.
So this weekend we packed a lunch and spent a few hours enjoying God’s beautiful creation.
“Every blade of grass and every color in this world is intended to make us rejoice in God.” ~ John Calvin
And we listened. At one point while we were eating lunch, Stefan said, “Did you hear that?” I stopped to listen. Sure enough it was the song of a different bird than we had been hearing. “It sounds like a flute.” And you know what? It really did sound just like a flute! But I would never have thought about it had my 4 year-old not pointed it out to me. If only I would stop and listen with the ears of a child every now and then.
It may not be easy to spend time enjoying God’s beautiful Creation, but we are always grateful when we make the effort.
And what better way to teach your child about the wonders of God’s creation than to just get out and enjoy it?
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Ps. 96:11-12
How do you make sure your kids spend enough time outdoors enjoying God’s Creation?