Our children are all precious. They start out innocent and have clear minds just ready to absorb everything in the world they see and hear.
We know that is true. How many of us have heard our children repeat something we never dreamed they heard us say!
So who is responsible for what information is absorbed? We are all responsible. Children watch their parents and other adults around them. They will repeat what they hear, take on the attitudes they witness, and care about things that the adults in their lives consider important. If they grow up witnessing kindness, they will learn to be kind. If they witness anger and bitterness, they will learn to be dissatisfied with life.
Children will learn about their environment in the same way. Someone must show them and teach them to appreciate the miracles of life and beauty that surround us. Often, children and adults alike are so busy or glued to electronic gadgets that beautiful sunsets, a sky full of stars, the intricacies of the flowers that bloom, or a pair of hawks soaring above are missed completely.
We forget to stop and listen to the water trickling over the rocks in a stream or the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees. Have you ever stopped to watch hard-working ants or a bird going back and forth gathering materials to build a nest? These things happen in our own back yards, yet we often ignore them because we are so busy.
In the same way, we can also become blind to the damage we may be doing to that same beautiful world. The ugliness and danger of litter on the roadsides, the garbage piled up in a slough on the river, or the household garbage that someone is burning down the road are often overlooked. If children are raised to believe all these things are normal, they may never develop a sense of responsibility for the natural wonders around them.
Children must be shown, and we must take the time to show them. In doing so, we ourselves may be reminded to appreciate the miracles and beauties of the world around us.
When I lived in West Limestone, I would drive along the river daily. If my granddaughters were with me, they knew to be quiet once we reached the river and look for wildlife. They would scan the water, grass, and sky to spot turtles, hawks, and other critters. It took just a few minutes, but it helped them to become conscious of what was living and sharing this planet with them. I now live in the city and I, too, must make a conscious effort to stop and share a beautiful sky or the smell of rain in the air with my other grandchildren who have come along.
Pick a day, turn off the cell phone, disconnect from the electronics, and take a walk in the woods or along a riverbank. Take time to look for turtles, fish, and birds along the way. Lay on your backs and watch the clouds go by, picking out familiar shapes. Use your imagination. Breathe the fresh air.
Appreciate the gift of the natural world. It is amazing and just waiting to be noticed.
By: Lynne Hart