Teen Takes A Hike
A teen helps his or herself by being outdoors as much as possible. But when you think about it, it is a bit more difficult for today’s teenagers to do. Childhood memories contrast starkly from today’s reality.
I can remember a classmate in fourth grade falling from a jungle gym. He showed up a few weeks later complete with a body cast that became the fascination of all his classmates. He survived. There were no lawsuits, they didn’t remove the jungle gym from the playground and the rest of us were a bit more cautious in our recess antics.
Not so today. Schools and parents are intent on avoiding lawsuits and eliminating risk, and in so doing, have eliminated a great many healthy outdoors pursuits altogether. And then there is the very real reality that there are predators in our midst who truly do intend to hurt children. But you can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Parents need to remember the joys of their childhood. The tree houses, swimming in a pond, putting a worm on a hook or rolling down a lush green hill. Then they need to find ways to introduce their teen to the same pleasures.
“That’s why there’s a growing movement to bridge the widening gap between kids and nature, especially since Richard Louv released his book “Last Child in the Woods” two years ago. Louv makes a pretty compelling case for the growing number of children having trouble focusing — even diagnosed with things such as attention deficit disorder — because of what he calls “Nature Deficit Disorder.”
A connection with nature and the outdoors is in our genes, and replacing that connection with gadgets such as video games, iPods and cell phones seems to be hurting us more than we think.”
By Ann Walker