Tuesday: Weekly Book Review—Last Child In the Woods

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I started reading this book already agreeing the the author in lots of the points I knew he was going to make:

-Nature nurtures creativity, imagination, love and appreciation for the Earth and a place where children gain responsibility, independence, self-confidence…-“To increase your child’s safety, encourage more time outdoors, in nature. Natural play strengthens children’s self confidence and arouses their sense–awareness of the world and all that moves in it, seen and unseen.”

-Nature can in some ways help tremendously with childhood obesity, ADHD, mental health disorders and “troubled” children.

-That our children’s (and our own) space is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. That this can affect their mental, spiritual, emotional and physical health.

-How Environment-based education DRAMATICALLY improves test scores of students and schools.

-How spending time in nature as a family can help strengthen family relationships.

The book also brought up many points that I had never even thought of:

-I went into reading the book thinking how this could help my girls, my family. He goes into great detail of how you can help your community, your schools, your government with nature deficient disorder.

-He brings up the point of where will our future artists, poets, leaders, scientists, environmentalists, ecologists come from, will the future generation be ready or even interested?

-He emphases exploring the nature AROUND you, close to you, daily. That exploring your nature does not mean packing up the kids to drive a couple hours to “real outdoors”

-The importance of children knowing the source of their food.

-The “Boogieman Syndrome” what it is and how we can deal with it. How we can at a certain age, under certain circumstances, with certain precautions let our children have free natural play in nature.

The book itself is written beautifully, he does not come across harsh in his points…instead almost like he is pleading with us to help change our families, our communities, our countries… before it is to late. He brings up beautiful examples and stories of how nature was prominent in the lives of for example the founders of our country and everyday people.

“Nature—the sublime, the harsh, and the beautiful—offers something that the street or gated community or computer game cannot. Nature presents the young with something so much greater than they are; it offers an environment where they can easily contemplate infinity and eternity.”

Sometimes when I need to calm down, need to take a breath, need to get out of a “funk” I think of the memories I had in nature as a child. Every winter my Dad would take us to the best sledding spot. It was beautiful, we would crawl under a barbed wire fence, cross a little stream and sled down the farm’s hill with all the cows. If we got going good enough we would end up running into the stream. Fishing—we would always explore to find a new fishing hole. I remember seeing snakes, rats, frogs, toads on our little adventures. My Dad always made us feel like real explorers :) My husband and my swimming hole we found in Amesbury, MA. We would hike for quite awhile with our two dogs just to find our favorite place. Right before he entered the fishing hole was this beautiful field, full of wild flowers. The beach, the sound, the smell, the feel, everything about it calms me. These are the memories I love to think of, I hope my children can have these daily.

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