Thursday, August 1, 2013

Going Green with Kids

In our daily lexicon, "going green" has taken on the meaning of living a ecofriendly life, being conscious of our carbon footprint, and caring about things like sustainable and organic food sources.  In the midst of all this ecobabble, we seem to have lost the simple idea that in order to care about our precious planet, we need to introduce the younger inhabitants of it to its' wonders.  As we get more preoccupied with protecting the earth, we have forgotten about simply enjoying it with our children so that they develop a deep love and protective spirit regarding it.

If you believe the statistics, our younger generation is much more comfortable with a joy stick than a real stick, and that frankly is unacceptable.  Please examine your children's lives.  How much time are they devoting to electronic entertainment versus outdoor experiences?  And some of the responsibility falls on you.  Parents need to plan nature experiences and running around a weed free, manicured soccer field is not one of them.  So what is a parent to do?  Make it a priority to get outside.  Here a few ideas that might help you achieve this goal:

1.  Look Locally:  Take advantage of local parks and forest preserves.  Acquaint yourself with what is available in your area.

2.  Simple Works: Don't think that you need to take all day to make a big deal out of interacting with nature.  Take your child for a short walk after dinner, or on the weekends go somewhere nearby for a short hike.  Just get out and do it.

3.  Investigate Bike Paths:  Maybe take a ride to a destination for an ice cream cone, or pack a lunch and ride to a stopping point for a picnic, and then ride home.

4.  Fresh Air Everyday:  The Europeans make this a priority.  It is very customary to see babies being walked in buggies during cold winter months.  These people understand that warm weather isn't the only time that we should be outdoors.  As long as you are properly dressed, fresh air is healthy all year long.  And your children will benefit from it.

5.  Walk To School:  If you have the opportunity to have your children walk to school, see it for the blessing that it is and take advantage of it.  By walking to and from school, your child learns about the seasons, can reflect on his/her day, and benefits from the exercise.  All this in addition to it being the ecofriendly way to go!

The benefits of teaching your children to enjoy and appreciate nature are endless.  Nature has a calming effect on kids.  It helps them clear their heads and focus on something other than themselves.  It develops their senses and observational abilities.  And it grooms them to be the stewards that our planet will need in the future.  Please commit to getting your children better acquainted with this magical, beautiful, wonderful, amazing place that we all call home, Planet Earth.

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