Our first challenge to connect with nature invited participation from the entire family. For our next challenge, I want to focus on us – parents, grandparents, care-givers – the “grown-ups” who are watched so carefully by little eyes each day.
Most of us understand in theory that the children in our care will model their perspectives, attitudes, and approaches to life based on what they observe in us. In practice, this responsibility requires thoughtful practice to live out. “Do as I say, not as I do” is far easier to practice than mindfully modeling that which you hope to nurture in the character of your children.
Stepping again into Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods in the chapter titled “Why the Young (and the Rest of Us) Need Nature,” he speaks on the connection between technological progress and reduced contact with nature:
But one price of progress is seldom mentioned: a diminished life of the senses . . . as human beings, we need direct, natural experiences; we require fully activated senses to feel fully alive. Twenty-first-century Western culture accepts the view that because of omnipresent technology we are awash in data. But in this information age, vital information is missing. Nature is about smelling, hearing, tasting, seeing . . . (p. 58)
How often do you, as an adult, seek out experiences in nature that awaken your senses?
The second Connecting with Nature challenge is this: for one week, focus on awakening your senses through own interactions with nature.
This will mean different things for different people, but just begin where you are and challenge yourself a bit this week. Here are some ideas to get you started:
* Wake up early enough to catch the sun rising. As you drink your morning cup of coffee or tea, take time to reflect on how each of your senses are speaking to you in the moment.
* Take your camera and go for a solitary walk. Challenge yourself to capture images that will remind you of all that you heard, saw, felt, and maybe even smelled and tasted on your personal nature walk.
* Sit down in the grass and take in what the world looks like from your child’s eye level. Take in all of the sensory stimulations they experience from that point of view.
There are innumerable ways for you to experience nature each day. For this challenge, really push yourself to connect your time in nature with sensory stimulation. We’ll meet back next Monday to share our observations!
photo by Tavallai