Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A little freedom...

Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv. Read it. It supports everything we instinctively know is right for ourselves and our kids, and is a fascinating read. It makes me want to throw the TVs and computers out the door and head out for a walk in the woods. Mr. Louv uses a great term: nature-deficit disorder, to describe what is going on with a lot of children today. From general malaise to ADD, he presents studies pointing toward the disconnect with nature as a root of these illnesses and ailments. More time spent in natural settings can lessen symptoms and provide a peace that the stimuli of this technological life cannot possibly imitate. See? I just knew my quiet chair out front was good for me, when things get rough inside!

One part in particular struck me - as it talked about how kids need time to roam around, and be on their own in nature - away from the structure and rules of adults. It resonated, as I remembered the soothing feeling of being away, away, away from home and free to putter around in the trees and talk to myself. Free to create little worlds, dam up a stream, build a bamboo hut, swing on a vine, climb a tree. And feel like I was alone.

My city kids don't get this around here. Our vigilance is such that they must always be in sight, in our yard, away from the street and supervised. And they chafe at these restrictions while they wander further away in search of another dandelion, a lower tree branch, or follow a butterfly's flight.
Our trip will be so good for them. Un-manicured fields, yards, trees and country. Stories about our treehouses and forts, ponies and puppies.

A little freedom to soothe the soul.


  1. this is interesting, bethany.
    what i wonder is, what has made us all so scared?
    everyone is scared to let children do anything.
    the lady i work with lives in smallwood and she said that even in that neighborhood she never sees children outside playing!
    it is probably going to result in a whole generation of freakin wierdo kids...that'll be fun when they are all in college...they will have a lot to blame us for! :)

  2. I totally agree. We are very lucky to live right beside the largest city park in the country, with tons of programs even for my preschooler. Their sole focus is to get kids outdoors more. I'm planning to raise them both hiking trails and spending lots of time outdoors. My daughter already spends half her day in our wooded backyard!


Put it right here, babe!