Hi! Still in Russia, eating my pelmeni and drinking warm soda. While I'm gone I'm turning the reins to a fantastic team of guest writers. Today Janice Planet has a few words to share with you about a topic near and dear to my heart, getting the kids to love the outdoors. Enjoy!
There is nothing better than the great outdoors and all that nature has to offer. As human beings, we rely on and are connected to nature, so it is important to have a respect and appreciation for it. In the spirit of that respect and appreciation, I am doing everything I can to raise my children with a love for nature and the outdoors. Some kids will have a love for nature naturally built in from birth, almost like it is part of their DNA, while others will need a little push. It’s important to recognize the individual tendencies of your children, and help encourage a love for nature instead of forcing it upon them.
In our family, one of our kids idolized John Muir so much that he begged us to send him to an outdoor boarding school where camping and nature would be built into his education. Our other child was not too keen on the idea of that kind of school. We were able to understand that even though our one child was excited about the idea of spending time outdoors, the other child wouldn’t pick it as his first choice of fun activities. Knowing this, we never forced our child to go do things in nature that they didn’t want to do. In order to encourage a genuine love and respect for creation, it’s important to nurture the love gently instead of cramming it down one’s throat.
Our favorite way to encourage this love was to lead by example and expose them to the joys of nature. We went on many family hiking and camping trips, and taught our kids all about the cool and interesting things that this amazing earth has to offer. What better way to teach appreciation for water then by showing them lakes, rivers and oceans, and taking them to the desert to explain our short supply in times of drought? By allowing our kids the chance to come in close contact with nature, they were able to learn to appreciate the gifts it gives us and our steady reliance upon it. Our kids loved our outdoor excursions, and we believe they are better, more respecting adults because of it!
"Janice Planet hikes, blogs and then hikes some more. She enjoys these activities because they let her involve her kids, whether that means writing about them or passing on her love of nature to them."