Well, seeing I mentioned that I decided to start this blog after reading a paper my Son wrote for a College Writing course that referenced Nature Deficit Disorder, I thought it would be smart to start by providing some information on Nature Deficit Disorder as well as start discussing what the outdoors has meant to me.
Taken from the following Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_deficit_disorder
Nature Deficit Disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, refers to the alleged trend that children are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. He also argues that sensationalist media coverage and paranoid parents have literally "scared children straight out of the woods and fields," while promoting a litigious culture of fear that favors "safe" regimented sports over imaginative play.
You have to step back and start to think about this and compare today's parents and children from when we were children. I grew up in the city in a single parent household where my mother would work multiple jobs to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. This left plenty of time for my brother and I to basically do what ever we felt like and what we did was get outside. We'd play sports in the street, climb roofs and trees, hide n seek, flashlight tag, explore the parks, fields, ponds and puddles. It didn't matter what we did, but we did it outside. This wasn't just unique to my brother and I, but to many of the kids in the neighborhood. If we weren't being told to go outside and play, we were begging to go outside and play. Access to forests, farms, lakes and streams was not around the corner, but I was able to access them thanks to my Mom, my uncles (my mom's brothers) and my dad. How they influnced my love for the outdoors will be for a later topic.
Today I live in the suburbs with a couple of large sections of state forest minutes from me and access to a public lake within walking distance and a stream nearby.....Man, what a playground.
Looking back I can't help but think that spending all this time outdoors has had a huge effect on who I am today. It didn't matter if it was 5 degrees and a foot of snow, or 99 and humid... we had to be outside. Being out side forced us to explore, meet new people and friends, learn communication skills, learn to get around on our own, to be creative and to appreciate everything there is to offer outside. If you can take some time out of your busy schedule to step back and reflect on your childhood and your experiences with the outdoors and think about how that influenced you as a person today and maybe eve how you interact with your own children. BTW. I just ordered Richard Louv's Book: "Last Child in the Woods" and can't wait to read it.
Some links of interest.
Richard Louv Website
Richard Louv's Blog
CT No child left inside website
Have you enjoyed the outdoors today?