Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Nature-Deficit Disorder?

I want to recommend this book: I grew up on the land. I had a childhood spent playing, exploring and just "being" in Nature. Unlike my own rural childhood, my sons have been raised in the city. That means that instead of living right in a completely natural setting, we have to leave our man made environment and travel (luckily for us it's walk or bike ride away in proximity) to the woods. It is something we have done throughout their childhood and continue to do, as we feel it is important our boys have time and place to roam and explore the natural world.
"Unlike television, nature does not steal time; it amplifies it. Nature offers healing for a child living in a destructive family or neighborhood. It serves as a blank slate upon which a child draws and reinterprets the culture's fantasies. Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses. Given a chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it in the creek, turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of that confusion... In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate place."

I found this book to be insightful. It also carries a warning. If we keep on as we have been over the past decades, in the way we have treated and viewed the natural world, we will not only be losing our environment. We will lose our future - our children. We all need the natural world.


Heather said...

Hear, hear, Katherine. Love that quote you included. I always wonder how people expect children to care about the environment (or the future of it) if they don't make time to be in nature with their kids and make sure that they are connected to nature.

I think spending time in nature is one of the best things we can do for our kids (not to mention ourselves). Mary-Sue was just telling us about a ADD study where the boys spent every morning in the woods with their parent for an hour and all their symptons dissappeared. Isn't that wonderful?

Katherine said...

Thanks, Heather.
This was such a good book to read. It includes findings that support what Mary-Sue was telling you. Being out in nature does alleviate or erradicate behavioural problems such as ADD or ADH. Sounds amazing, but it just makes sense when I think about it. I know how I feel after being out in nature - it definitely helps me de-stress for example and leaves me feeling re-energized. According to the findings in this book, I'm not alone in having these results. There are immmeasurable benefits to spending time in nature and it really is something we need to give more priority to. For ourselves and especially for the next generation - our children. Spending time in nature - especially unstructured time - is a vital need. The lack of doing this has been having repercussions on our whole culture, it's just that most people have been unaware of this simple healing solution. So I am going to spread the word: "Go spend time in nature."

Felicia said...

Sounds like a book worth reading.

Genevieve said...

Thank you for writing about this book! I am in the middle of it right now and it really is a must read for all parents and educators.

Anonymous said...

Well written article.