Let Them Climb
Today I heard on the television that a quarter of Australian kids have never climbed a tree! This made me feel really, really sad. I was a monkey when I was a child. Some of my fondest, quietest, peaceful moments were when I was embraced in the arms of a tree. I would often go there if I was feeling sad or mad. They were my friends and companions. And yes I did fall out of one once and broke my arm but that didn’t deter me and I knew the risks. That was part of the allure.
Climbing, exploring, stretching ourselves, being in nature, quiet time – aren’t they all essential for a child’s wellbeing? My children were always outside when they were little. They played in the dirt, collected ‘treasures’, left gifts for the fairies, hugged the chooks, had mud fights, walked through the bush. And now has young adults they appreciate the gifts of nature and like me, crave time outdoors if it has been too long. How can children connect with the earth and themselves, understand the importance of caring for our environment if they don’t spend time in it?
Yes we have play grounds, they have their place, but they are all artificial, plastic, ‘dead’. There is something magical about playing in an environment where you can share energy even when you may not be conscious of that. Being in nature up lifts you, balances you and energizes you. And for our children who spend so much time indoors or in front of electronics, this is so important.
“Our Children no longer learn how to read the great book of Nature from their own direct experience, or how to interact creatively with the seasonal transformations of the planet. They seldom learn where their water come from or where it goes. We no longer coordinate our human celebration with the great liturgy of the heavens.”
Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth
“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself- consciously to the soughing of the trees.”
Make it a holiday experience. Take the family out and find a tree to climb. Make it a family tree :). Sit in the branches and share what you see. Hug the branches and feel the peace. Have a picnic under its shade and most of all enjoy.