What is "reality" for a kid growing up in this sped-up, dumbed-down, 140-character world? Is their idea of connection a matter of how many "likes," "follows," or "friends" they've accumulated through the social media?
Beyond what little exercise may be mandated by their school, how much time will they spend today doing something that elevates their breathing and heart rates? Do they know more about the pop culture preferences of their friends than they do about Nature in their own back yard? Do they show more reverence for the escapades of the Kardashians than for the wonders of Creation?
If something about your answers to those questions bothers you, you're not alone.
There's a vibrant, growing movement among educators, physicians, environmentalists, schools and, yes, parents, to help this generation of children rediscover Nature. To convert them back from watchers to doers, from consumers to creators. In other words, back to what—until just this current generation—children have always excelled at: awareness, curiosity, imagination, play and wonder.
What can you do? For information, inspiration and resources go to the Children & Nature Network. While you're there you can also donate to the excellent work C&NN is doing to help kids get back outdoors, playing, learning and growing in the fresh air.
C&NN Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Richard Louv (author of the best-sellers, Last Child In the Woods and The Nature Principle describes his vision in a recent fund-raising letter:
I’m writing to ask your help, first by imagining a newer world. A world in which all children grow up with a deep understanding of the life around them, where they know the animals and plants of their own back yards as well as the televised Amazon rainforest, or better.
A newer world where the point of education is wonder and awe, where every school has a natural play space or garden. Imagine a world in which pediatricians prescribe nature. A world in which families become closer, and join with other families to explore the natural world. Where children, in inner cities and far suburbs, experience the joy of being in nature before they learn of its loss, where they can lie in the grass on a hillside for hours and watch clouds become the faces of the future. Imagine a newer world where every child has a human right to a connection to the natural world, and shares the responsibility for caring for it. Where every child has the opportunity to help create that world.
Please help the Children & Nature Network build the movement to connect children, their families and their communities to nature – and to imagine a newer world.
I could not say it better myself.