Friday, April 24, 2009

Lecture with Richard Louv

Those of you who know me and hubby are aware that we are hopeless nerds.  Last night, we had an adults only evening of dinner and a lecture by author Richard Louv, who wrote the book, Last Child in the Woods.

Of course, when I excitedly told a friend that this was "date night," she asked if I couldn't do any better than a lecture series!  I got a big kick out of that one!  I love learning things.

Dinner was good and at a restaurant that I had never tried before, which is nice.  Please note that the restaurant did not have a drive through window    :-)

Hubby had been reading Last Child in the Woods and I am waiting for him to finish so that I can get started with it.  I am familiar with the learning style of "naturalist" and how children often need to feel connected with something larger than themselves and a video screen.  I think it fosters closeness with the Creator of our universe, but I realize that since not everyone is happy calling on our God the Father, that he doesn't mention it much.

But, I don't see how anyone can be in nature and not be drawn to God (even if one doesn't know that it is God in the beginning).

Regardless of this personal epiphany :-), the lecture was wonderful and Mr. Louv is a passionate and dynamic speaker.  He reminds us adults that we can often remember a transcendent moment in nature that we keep in our hearts forever.  That memory can provide such a sense of peace and centering that we come back to it for years to come.

This generation of children (and many of my own generation, I fear) don't have those memories to use as self-comfort.  For some of us it involves animals, for others, wide open places, for others a park or other green space in a city.  But, fear of human predators and crime have hindered parents from letting kids have access.  Single parents often work so much that kids are home alone, locked at home with a tv or video console.

I want my kids to have those memories.  It's easy with DS11, he loves to be outside watching bugs, dragonflies, butterflies, birds, lizards, and other critters.  He competes annually in the Georgia Youth Birding Competition and goes to help researchers do bird banding in middle Georgia.  He's easy to engage in outdoor activities.  Lately, he has become interesting in geocaching and Volkswalking.  We'll see where those lead.

DS12 is another story.  Because he is an Aspie and has notoriously weak muscle tone and poor balance, he is afraid to get out of a predictable environment.  He will sit on a porch or deck, but won't venture out onto uneven ground, etc.  He will play with animals for ages, and that is his best contact with nature right now, but it's an unbalanced one as it doesn't really look at natural things in natural settings.  It's sad really because he used to be the kid who wouldn't wear shoes and you'd have to catch him to carry him inside on a summer night for a bath and bedtime :-)  Now, he can't remember the feeling of mud or grass between his toes.

That definitely has to change.  He has been interested in cooking lately and I have told him that the best cooks use the freshest ingredients.  He hates veggies, but that is another story.  So, we are going to start a limited garden that he will have to "help me with."  Hey, it's a start.  The garden can't be inside :-)  With my foot issues, I can milk it long enough to make him really take a role in this.  Hopefully that will help him to loosen up outside a bit.

Anyway, I highly recommend hearing Richard Louv speak if you ever have the opportunity.  Check out his book at the local library if you have a chance.  He even talks a little bit about how families need to be out of doors in parks, etc. when the economy is bad.  A game of catch is fun and much more frugal than movie tickets.  You won't be disappointed, I promise.  It is very thought provoking!

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