“If we cannot always be in nature, we might as well be reading about nature.” – MTS
I must confess, I don’t read too many parenting books. There are several reasons for this, the main reason for this choice is the fact that they all seem so contradictory and after reading a couple, I found myself in an utter state of confusion. The reality and the truth of the matter is this; as parents we have no clue what we are doing. There is no one manual that promises our children will turn out to be well – established, amazing, loving people that will always return to the nest and continue to create a lasting relationship with the people who brought them into this world. Nope, I have never come across a single book that offers such promises. We are all forging this path to raising decent, kind, loving human beings by doing the very best we can. I’ll be the first to admit that I get it terribly wrong sometimes, but boy do I try.
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
On my path to trying to do the right thing, I stumbled across the most formative, thought provoking book I have read about raising children. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv (who coined the term, nature – deficit disorder) was so poignant in my life as a mother, that I, to this day, stress the importance of getting my family into nature. My children have literally grown – up hiking both on local trails and alpine paths, which does my heart good.
Quick take -away:
“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”
“Children in the “green” day care, who played outside every day, regardless of weather, had better motor coordination and more ability to concentrate.”
The Nature Fix by Florence Williams
Though this book often reads like a dissertation with a mix of humor, the research, the stats and the overwhelming realization that we as humans were created to be one with nature, all come to the forefront. Williams reveals how nature impacts our overall health, brain function, ability to relax, recharge and move away from our stress induced, suicidal tendencies.
Williams convinces the reader that with the help of quality outdoor time, we can help those most in need, including: victims of PTSD, at risk youth and children suffering from ADHD, to mention just a few. Nature boosts our mood, and enhances our overall health, making it a necessary component to our lives.
Quick take -away
“Humans can “adapt to the loss of actual nature,” but we will suffer physical and psychological costs.”
“Nature levels gendered play. The kids in forest kindergartens also tend to get sick less often than their indoor peers, and they host a healthier, more diverse array of microbacteria in their bodies.”
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Despite the fact that this is a children’s book, this book, written in the 70’s had such clever insight into the way man takes what he wants, rapes the land of its natural resources and then when he is finished with what he needs, simply packs up and leaves his path of destruction for all to absorb and suffer the devastating consequences.
Each time I read this book out loud to my children or a class, I am reminded of several things: one being what a genius Dr. Seuss must have been to create such a powerful and meaningful book that is timeless. And two, how he could take such complex issues and bring them down to a level even the youngest child could understand both through the written word and through the images he chose to incorporate into the book.
This book allows parents, teachers or caregivers the opportunity to discuss morality, greed, the environment, capitalism and so much more. If you need a gift for an upcoming birthday, I cannot recommend this treasure enough. It is a book I will continue to revisit throughout the years and hope my children will one day pass the gift of The Lorax on to their own children.
Quick take -away
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The Lorax