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.