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.

Wendell Berry
“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.

6 Responses to Let Them Climb

  • Yes, it is very sad and nature deficit disorder is alive and well in children and adults. So many kids I see in practice, would do far better to get away from screens and get out into the garden. We now live on acreage and when we left Melbourne 5 years ago one of the primary reasons was to give our kids the gift of living close to nature and to have a relationship with dirt, rain, mountain air, bugs and other wild creatures! I am proud of my two little monkeys who are avid and skilled tree climbers! Thanks for a great post! Karen

    • natalie says:

      Hi Karen,
      Your children will be better people for it I am sure. Congratulations on being a ‘natural’ parent. I have a real aversion to kids spending so much time on computers/ipods etc. When the kids were little we went camping a lot purely to be free from technology. Beautiful connections. Thank you for your comment.

  • How sad! We are lucky that just around the corner is a beautiful big old tree in the middle of a roundabout that my youngest loves to go and climb. She takes her friends down their and they sit up there and chat for hours sometimes. 🙂

    • natalie says:

      Hi Nikki,
      I love that it is in the middle of a roundabout. Maybe she will inspire others to do the same! Thank you for the comment. See you in the branches.

  • Thank you Natalie,
    you prompted so many memories for me of my childhood days, my friends, my family and also my own children who were fortunate enough to live in country UK and were always out in the fresh air having fun, climbing trees and getting up to assorts of mischief that I am just getting to hear about now! (my son will be 30 next month and my daughter is almost 28) they as I, were allowed to use their imaginations whilst out in nature making their story up as they played. I remember my own childhood playing war-games where I always wanted to be the nurse! happy memories 😉

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