Just as our parents once did, one day we will hand the world over to our kids. The problems, the beauty, the accomplishments that were once ours will be theirs. It’s up to us to teach kids about the natural world if we want them to preserve it for the generations that follow. Each generation is more aware than the last that the natural balance of our planet’s ecosystem is fragile, and that we are disrupting it in a big way. Clearly, there is no turning back from the impacts humanity is making. However, as we move forward, we all need to think about the impact we would like to have on the future.
What and how we teach our kids about nature may be the biggest way we can make a difference to their lives and the life of our planet.
Give them opportunities to be active
Perhaps the biggest way you can enrich a child’s life is just by helping them to be active and healthy. With obesity on the rise all around the globe, unhealthy food in every aisle of the store, and more screens than you could possibly pay attention to in every room of the house, it’s pretty easy to be unhealthy.
But if you read Outdoor Revival, you know the importance of an active, outdoors lifestyle. It’s not just good for your body, it’s good for your mind. The unfortunate truth is that it can be hard to be active if you’ve never been shown how. Having a teacher, parent or mentor take you outside when you’re young can make a world of difference.
Teach them self-reliance
There are few things more important than being able to take care of yourself. However, society makes it so easy to be dependent that few people ever learn how. Spending days and nights in nature can teach kids valuable lessons about what is really important in life and what they can do without. Furthermore, it gives them a chance to take care of themselves. You can teach kids how to live, but why not teach them how to teach themselves. After all, eventually they’ll be grown up and there won’t be anyone to hold their hand. Give them a head start by getting them outside when they’re young.
Develop a sense of wonder
It’s an unfortunate truth, but depression is incredibly common in the US and around the world, affecting about 7% of the adult population in the US. The worst part is that it’s on the rise. According to the World Health Organization, the incidence of depression increased by 18% between 2005 and 2015.
And hey, this modern world of cities, jobs, standardized tests, expectations, TV dramas, and tinder dates can be a little depressing sometimes. Some people need a little more in their lives, something to reignite their sense of wonder. If you teach kids about the outdoors from a young age, you can help them learn to see all the beauty in the world. It’s about more than just posting a photo of last night’s sunset to their Instagram page. Really, it’s about teaching them to see beauty in the world and to seek out that which excites them.
Foster exploration and discovery
Life is a grand adventure. There’s so much to see and do and explore. However, so many people miss out on so much of it because they don’t know how to find it. The wilderness is full of mountains to climb, oceans to cross, and jungles to explore. Teach kids to seek out these challenges from a young age. That way, the groundwork is laid for them to set their own goals in life and to have the courage to achieve them.
As a species, we have big challenges facing us in the coming decades. We are going to need capable, adventurous young people who are ready to look for answers and find solutions.
Encourage a sense of stewardship
Spending time outdoors is obviously a great way to teach kids to live their lives well. However, it can also teach them that life is bigger than them. Everything is connected. By spending time in nature, kids can learn that what we do today affects the world we live in tomorrow. Although this lesson has always been important, there is no generation for whom it is more apparent than the one growing up right now.
As we face climate change on an unprecedented level, overpopulation on a scale never seen before, and technological advances too fast to keep track of, the new generation has a lot to think about.
If we teach kids to take care of our planet now, it will be there to take care of them later.
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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it. Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors.