Nature Deficit Disorder....Really?
Recently while searching for an article to post on our Red Gate Farm Facebook page, I came across a search result that had the title, "Nature Deficit Disorder" and I had to keep reading.
The web page I came across is www.childrenandnature.org. This website is dedicated to fostering activities that encourage kids to get back outside. I've included an excerpt from their website below.
Nature-Deficit DisorderAuthor Richard Louv introduced the term "Nature-Deficit Disorder" in 2005 with the publication of his bestselling book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” He coined the phrase to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from nature and it is not meant to be a medical diagnosis (although perhaps it should be). - See more at: http://www.childrenandnature.org/about/ndd/#sthash.QQmhZosf.dpuf
What intrigued me the most was that this is a MOVEMENT now. Tom and I have for a long time talked about this very concept. Each year we host Family Farm Week at the farm. Anyone in the family can attend...from Maryland to Florida. We have seen first hand what a week at the farm can do in terms of transforming kids. They arrive "tech'd" out. They leave a little more mature and responsible.
Our niece, now 13 has been visiting the farm for years. She began helping with the CSA during her Spring Breaks a few years ago. Her visits have gone from weekends to several weeks during the summer. She never complains about having to work on the farm. It's just unspoken that when you come to visit us, you are part of the farm family and assume responsibility for some chores. I watched her this past Christmas when she came to visit, get up at 5:30 so she could run the trap line with Uncle Tom. She would hit the mud room, throw on her boots and jacket and take off on the four wheeler. It really did not matter if they caught anything or not. It was that she was a part of the process. She was being depended upon and had a job. I also think the allure of what they may find when they went out was part of it too.
In the Spring and Summer when she visits, she helps plant and pick vegetables. We talk about how food is grown and the healthier choices she can introduce to her family when she gets home. She makes customer deliveries with me as well. She has the biggest smile on her face when she hands off the veggie box. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, she would rather be on the farm than anywhere else. When she is here, she spends very little time on the laptop or her phone. Those activities are usually at night when there's no daylight to be outside.
We went horseback riding, trout fishing, hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park, ate a fancy restaurant and introduced them to the movie "The Shining". As for that last part, The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King to write "The Shining". I hope we did not scare the BEJEEZUS out of them, LOL. We sat in the hot tub together and they actually opened up and talked to us about all kind of stuff. It was a wonderful time. I loved watching their faces when trying something new. The amazement of seeing an elk up close and personal or conquering fear of riding a horse up a mountain.
If you spend any time with kids in nature, they'll ask you all kinds of questions. The problem is, you also find out how little they know about how nature is connected to their lives. How food is grown and where it comes from, how nature and humans are connected and depend on each other for survival. It is critical that we all take an active part in seeking out activities to get our kids out of the house. They are missing out on LIFE.
I am so looking forward to Spring. I can't wait to get Sophie outside and introduce her to the garden and the wonder of the farm.