Thursday, May 5, 2011

Any nature parents out there? Hopefully, or your kid will turn out like this.

According to the 2005 book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, kids are alarmingly disconnected from the natural world. Written by Richard Louv, the book discusses how kids are isolated and are more "plugged in" (technologically speaking) than ever, which might turn them into that remarkable child pictured above!

Some parents discussing this disorder mentioned how their own kids won't put their bare feet on the lawn! I have heard plenty of times when working with children about how they don't ever touch trees or dirt, and scream bloody murder if a bug enters the room. Some of you like me, who have seen a few decades, may remember making mud pies, playing tag in the woods at night, and running around all day outside without shoes on. So which kind of "nature parent" are you below? Written by yours truly!

The Nature is out to get you Parent: You take your kids on a nature walk in the "city park" once a year. On this excursion you pack: 1. sanitizer 2. sunscreen 3. bug spray 4. snake bite kit 5. emergency blanket 6. portable, solar-powered shower 7. toilet seat covers 8. bear repellent 9. poison arrow anti-venom

While on the nature walk, you warn your kids constantly ("Don't touch that fuzzy caterpillar, it might shoot deadly quills at you", or "Don't pick up that bird's nest, it could have the Ebola virus",  and "Don't get your new white outfit and white shoes we just bought and put on you before we came here dirty".  When you leave your nature walk location, you stop by the park suggestion box and leave comments like: "Please clear the rocks and tree roots off the nature path", or "There were several spider webs blocking our trail, please eradicate them", and "It would be nice if there were some pop and snack machines at the trail head".

The Nature Brand Name Acquirer Parent: You take your kids on a nature hike in a well-populated state park twice a year. But you do this only after your $4,876 trip to Cabela's or Bass Pro Shop. You equip yourself with an $86.00 water bladder that  keeps you water chilled for your hour and a half journey. You wear jackets that say The North Face on them even though you are hiking in Illinois. You check your $659.00 GPS every 14 1/2 steps to make sure you are still on the right trail. Your entire family has $140.00 high-tech footwear, and you all have coordinating safari shorts with 11 pockets. Throughout the hike you discuss with your kids what a wimp Bear Grylls is on Man vs.Wild for having a camera crew with him, unlike Les Stroud, who's on the Survivor Man show.

The Nature Homeschool Trip Parent: I see these parents in the woods all the time. Whenever it is time to learn about nature and stuff, or when they need a free field trip because their kids are driving them nuts at home, these parents drag their kids in the woods toting worksheets and notebooks. You hear the mom point out all kinds of stuff in the woods without having a clue of what it is. Yet their tone of voice resonates like they are seasoned naturalists. They say things like "Look at that bump on the leaf over there, Jimmy! Let's record that finding in your analysis log and classify our specimen back at the biology lab." The biology lab, of course, is a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers.

The Nature Hardcore Nurturer Parent: Spare the rugged, 22 mile totally uphill hike every saturday, and spoil the child. Not even a swinging 900 ft. rope bridge with missing planks will keep you from exposing your kids to the untamed wild. You don't even have to point out birdcalls to your kids, because they are already familiar with them from your hikes when they were in the womb. Even your toddlers can repel off a cliff right next to you, while you have a baby strapped to your back and holding the picnic basket with your "free arm". (The picnic basket is of course filled with only Cliff bars and eco-friendly water bottles.) You say things to you kids like: " Honeysuckle-moon Sequoia Forrester! How are you going to have the fortiude to succeed in life if you are whimpering about crossing that 13 ft. gap with your backpack as a counter-weight".

So which one are you? C-mon, fess up!


  1. I'm an avid camper and I love the outdoors. My ex-wife not so much. She avoids the out of doors and I'm afraid she'll be raising our son to be the same way. I believe connecting our children to nature is a critical part of developing their best selves.

  2. I believe so to! Well if your son starts flipping you off repeatedly, better get him outside. lol


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