One of the saddest things about childhood today is the cynicism. Too many children are trying to grow up too fast. Influenced by what they see on TV, TikTok or on Youtube, they want to race through childhood, skip over it, straight to the teen years. What a shame. They are missing key years of wonder.
Think about how much time you have invested in classes— art, soccer, climbing, math. Now think of the time you have invested in letting your child explore the outdoors, not on a hike, not as part of an educational program.
Just to wonder.
Wondering is a personal exploration. It allows the mind to lead and does best in a quiet space. Nature is a perfect setting. Any season will work. But summer is a great time, with the distraction of school and after school activities removed from life.
Here's how you can encourage your child to be calm and wonder:
- Leave any agendas or teaching points at home.
- Set aside the goals and checklists and just wait for nature. You’re on nature time now.
- Find a good spot. A tidal pool. A stand of trees. A small pond. An anthill. Places of initiation, as Robert Pyle calls them.
- Then just let the mind wonder.
Take some time to wander through the activity center to find what works best for you and your family. Or come up with your own.
Here a few ideas to get you started:
Studying a tree from root to leaf to shape of its top
“Seeing” a leaf for the first time, noticing its veins, color, and patterns
Catching fireflies and frogs
Exploring little creeks and ponds
Building stick forts
Creating fairy and gnome worlds
Sitting in your sit spot
Roaming through the woods
Exploring a tidal pool
Looking under rocks and logs