What are you teaching your children about life and our connection to nature? Better yet, what are your children teaching you?
We can bring our children to the mall, fill their bedrooms and our houses with items we don’t need, spend our days in amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, or sit in front of the television or computer disconnected from life-giving nature. Or, we can teach our children early that we are alive due to our connection with something larger than ourselves – nature, our place in the Universe, something higher than ourselves.
Imagine what our worldview would be if we taught our children that they are connected to everyone on this planet and we are all sharing the same air, water, soil, energy . . . YES, we are all sharing this for the time we are blessed with life.
Feeling very grateful that my children, grandchildren, family and friends share in a love of nature and the reality that without clean air to breath, clean water to drink, healthy soil to grow food we would not survive. What can you do to help yourself and the next generation? Listen to the little ones. They are teaching us about life, being mindful, and finding beauty in our world.
My little grandsons, Tanner and Colt, love nature – running around barefooted, hugging and talking to trees, the sky, clouds, birds, rolling around in grass, dirt, sunsets, and walking in the woods. Last year, when visiting my daughter and her family in San Diego, Tanner said, “Look at the beautiful sunset.” His Mom and Dad hadn’t noticed that every night at dinner there was a beautiful sunset view from their dining table. Out of the mouth of babes . . . While I was visiting, Tanner and I would go outside to enjoy the sunset until the thin orange/red line disappeared into the dark of night. We took walks in the neighborhood and spoke to the homeless lady sitting in the shade of a tree, to the workmen repairing the road, to the clerk serving us our ice cream. We also stopped to watch the birds in flight, the squirrels playing under the trees, the cat crossing the road. Everything is interesting when we slow down to see through the eyes of the child.
The boys follow in the path of my granddaughter, born 18 years prior to Tanner. They are their Mimi’s special nature babies. Taylor, at 21, is very connected with nature and exploring her world. Luckily she still finds everything to be interesting and spends her free time in nature – exploring New Mexico for now.
When we teach our children about nature they grow up to be adults who understand their connection with the precious Earth we live in communion with. It’s up to us as the adults to bring them to places where they can touch the earth, and maybe hug some trees, so they can find balance when facing challenges during their teen years. Prepare them to enjoy the inspiration of singing birds on a day when they might be facing loss; to connect with trees and the peaceful energy of a forest to guide them through sadness/ loneliness, so they can ground themselves and find inner peace. These are the treasures we can provide to our children rather than malls, amusement parks, computers, television shows, and other ways to mask reality. With the use of illegal drugs on the rise wouldn’t it be better to teach our children how to handle stress, sadness, loneliness and loss by connecting to nature during their early years rather than having them struggle through their inner turmoil without knowing. If you are one who is controlled by drugs, alcohol, tobacco or other vices, wouldn’t it be more productive to allow the small children to teach you how to reconnect, center, and ground yourself? By paying attention to the cues from the child you learn to remain open to the gifts of nature. You will also learn to reconnect with the joys of life that you may have forgotten along your path.
When Tanner was one, he was looking up at the white clouds and pale blue sky. I pointed upward and said “clouds” then “sky.” It didn’t take long before he was pointing up and saying “sky.” At first I thought he was just repeating words. Later he pointed up and said, “sky” on his own and continued from that day forward. What was interesting is that he didn’t say “clouds” unless there were actually clouds in the sky. He would sit and look up at the sky as if in meditation. Maybe he was. I was reminded of that day this weekend when 18 month Colt and I were outside, he pointed upward and said, “Sky.” First they learn the words, then the meanings, then the connections – most importantly – they see the beauty.
I’m amazed that both boys have a love for trees – a love that started very early on as you can see in the photos above. One of Colt’s first words was “tree.” At first he whispered “treeeee.” When outside he will toddle from one tree to another and hug them or touch them and look up at the canopy. He and I have been enjoying the Magnolia tree in his backyard for quite some time as you will see in one of the photos below.
Whether summer, fall, winter or spring you will find us outside enjoying nature. Yes, we still visit the mall on occasion, a zoo, sit in front of the computer or television, and partake in other indoor activities however our great love is being outside and sharing in the natural beauty of our world.
If we could all pay a little more attention to life and realize how much we depend on nature for our survival we would be able to balance our ‘needs’ with our ‘wants’ in a more beneficial way. As a result we will leave this world a better place for future generations. Let’s do our part to balance our lives – see as if viewing the world through the eyes of a child and witness the beauty in your daily life.
Love and Light!