As evidenced by the decline in National Park visits, increased screen time, and virtually empty backyards across America, it is not a stretch to say Americans are spending less and less time outdoors.
In his thoughtful and movement-inspiring book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv terms this disconnect from the natural world as Nature Deficit Disorder, and suggests that many of today’s children are dealing with this issue.
If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to read Louv’s book. Even if nature “isn’t your thing,” I suspect you will find the points he makes about childhood and society quite relevant.
So, I’ve been thinking: What if nature isn’t your thing? What if you don’t consider yourself an “outdoors” person? Often, outdoor proponents can seem like their message is meant for a very specific group of individuals — campers and kayakers, or people who really KNOW a lot about nature and the environment.
Now, it must be said that they don’t mean to exclude folks, but it’s easy for people to feel like they are on the outside looking in, or that a message isn’t relevant to them and their lives. It happens to us all.
But let me let you in on a little secret: Nature IS your thing. Enjoying nature can be as simple as a picnic in your backyard or potting beautiful flowers on your balcony. Blue skies and puddle jumping. Of course, it can be much deeper than that, like taking up birding, going white-water rafting, or fishing. Nature does not exclude anyone. It has something to offer everyone — children and adults alike.
I hope that you will explore nature YOUR way and be open to new experiences, and make sure that the children in your world have the same opportunities. Have never tried camping? You just might like it. Can’t remember the last time you noticed the sights and sounds of nature on a walk or a trip to the park? Slow down and take note. You’ll be glad you did.
See ya outside! – The Grass Stain Guru