I am a bit of a nature girl and I tried to pass the joy of the outdoors on to my kids. When the boys were little, long walks with me were pretty standard daily fare. We’d walk in fields, on beaches, down dusty desert roads, through any patch of woods nearby. I often pointed out interesting bits of nature: a certain bird, a beetle, a flower, a snake, or shape-shifting clouds.
But now as my boys are teens, a bit of that earlier wonder of nature gets usurped in favor of hunting zombies or texting friends while sprawled on the couch. Or so I thought. Max and a friend were hanging out one afternoon when they decided to take a go out to an old dock which is missing most of its wooden slats. If you can ease your way along the pilings, you can get to what’s left of the platform at the end.
The boys set out to their destination and I set out to mine – the hair salon. I was in the middle of well, “getting my hair done”, when my cell phone rang. Max was calling. “Mom?!” I could hear excitement in his voice and I started praying no one fell off the dock. The water is shallow, but still..and there was just no way I could leave the salon at that moment.
“We saw dolphins!” Max said. “Two dolphins came so close to the dock..and the water was so clear! They were about eight feet long and they blew air out, and they swam off!” Then came the teen stamp of approval, “It was awesome!”
I’ve not heard that same excitement in Max’s voice when he tells me he leveled up while playing a video game. I am always nattering on about the dolphins I see on my beach walks or some ‘natural wonder’ that just amazed me. The boys always seem to zone out when I tell them about the things I see. I was thrilled that Max thought his dolphin encounter was so cool, because it really was. Maybe Max’s inner naturalist just needs to get out more.
Do you try and expose your children to nature? Do you make it a family affair?