In my life I’ve learned that most knowledge is free. It may cost you that favorite Netflix show or some sleep, but digging into a book will teach you a new skill or mindset,or just help you open your mind to someone else’s point of view which is pretty invaluable.
Being a homeschool mom as well, I’m always on the lookout for finding more ways to let my kids learn in a new way and I truly believe that we should never stop learning! If you’ve read my bio here on the “About” page on our blog, you may have seen that I grew up on a farm, traveling to rodeos just about every weekend throughout my childhood. Even though most of my days were spent outside, I never got to really experience the beauty of our state because, for the most part, we were just driving through it to the next small town arena. When it came to adventuring with my kids, I felt confident with swinging them up on a horse, but taking them on a hike in the backwoods of Colorado was very intimidating!
To help get over this fear, I sought out friends who were confident in their adventuring skills and who didn’t mind letting me and my girls tag along. One of those friends just happens to be my friend Lauren, who is co-founder of Raise Them Wild Co. Our passions really meshed well when she became a mom early last year and we both expressed a desire to let our girls be “raised wild.”
With that, one of the books I stumbled upon at our local library was, The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. This book took an extensive and scientific look at how kids in this generation are being raised differently than they were just a few decades ago. It really opened my eyes to the fear mindset that modern parents have taken on because we are so connected to the happenings of the world around us through social media and the news literally being at our fingertips at all times. We hear of children being kidnapped, sold into sex slavery, child molesters, and just monsters on the loose looking to prey upon our children. I’m not going to lie, I’m not a such loose-reigned parent that just lets her kids run wild without making them stay close at the grocery store or lets them go to the public bathroom by themselves. Still, I don’t want to shelter and coddle them so much so that they’re fearful to get out from under my wingspan and experience and learn from the world around them.
One thing that I really loved about this book was that it took into consideration the rise of the obesity epidemic as well as the rise of children being diagnosed with depression and Attention Deficit Disorder in America and how it corresponds directly with our society being so “plugged-in” all the time. Author and Child Advocacy Expert, Richard Louv, recommends nature therapy as an antidote to these diagnoses. There’s proven science behind children who spend regular time in nature improving test scores and increasing creativity as well as just being happier overall. I know for myself, getting outside and moving my body is the best anti-depressant money can’t buy.
Parents, there comes a time in our lives that we need to look at the world that we’ve made for ourselves and ask the question, “Is this working?” Am I working so hard to be able to just buy my kid the next game or piece of technology because maybe then we’ll have peace in our house or maybe he’ll think I’m the cool mom? Or should we start considering what we’re setting our kids up for? When your kid gets bored, is the first thing they ask for is your phone? I’m completely guilty in letting that happen in my household a few times! Boredom is okay! And in all honesty, I remember being bored as a kid, but I also remember coming up with games and building stuff with bricks, rocks and sticks that I found outside.
Getting our kids out in nature is vital for their development. It’s not only helping them emotionally, cognitively, and physically, but also instilling in them an appreciation for the world around them. If we don’t learn to take care of these outdoor spaces now, in 20 years, with the population increases were experiencing, we soon won’t be able to experience nature like we are now. It’s so important to teach your kids to pick up trash when they see it, stay on designated trails and leave wild animals wild, but I’d also encourage them to climb the trees in the park, skip those rocks across the pond and pick those flowers that they see in bloom along the trail. Kids want to see, smell, taste and feel the world around them. It’s how God created us to experience the fullness of Him and nature is really one of the best places to hit on all of those.
All in all, I highly recommend this book. It’s not the easiest read with all of the scientific content, but it’s really helpful in encouraging a change in lifestyle if you’ve felt trapped indoors for far too long and want to start moving towards a more outdoor life.