Nicholas Kristof wrote an opinion piece for the The New York Times called “How to Lick a Slug.”
In it, he refers to Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, and touches on the need to help kids really appreciate and experience nature. He describes a recent camping trip taken with his daughter, explaining that “[s]uch time in the wilderness is part of our family’s summer ritual, a time to hit the ‘reset’ switch and escape deadlines and BlackBerrys.”
I have a chapter in Not So Fast exploring this same topic, hoping that we’re not simply speeding past God’s creation.
Kristof mentions that visits to national parks has been slipping for more than a decade in the United States, and we’re having a hard time maintaining our national trails.
We’ve focused on preserving nature, but that we haven’t done as well to “preserve a constituency” for nature. “[L]et’s protect nature, yes,” he writes, “but let’s also maintain trails, restore the Forest Service and support programs that get young people rained on in the woods.”
Our recent trip was rich with time in the great outdoors. We were in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at a family camp.
We hiked out and lingered long in this little cove. The kids climbed rocks, played hide-and-seek, sat and contemplated for a while, and waded out into the water to look at leeches and fish.
“Let’s acknowledge that getting kids awed by nature is as important as getting them reading,” Kristof writes.
Let’s get them outside, observing, learning, and appreciating what God has created.