Childhood. That time of life that is full of growth, learning, questions and change. A time that plays a part in defining our view of the world and what we hold as important. A time of cultivation. A time that needs wildness. Most of my childhood was spent living just outside of a small college … Continue reading How to Cultivate a Wild Child
Growing up in the 1980s, we didn’t have play dates or iPads or constant parental supervision/entertainment (at least not the helicopter kind that are so common today). Instead, we roamed: the prairie hillside where we lived in South Dakota, and the city neighborhood where we lived during a stint in Indiana. The other day I … Continue reading Some Things That Happened When We Were Kids
It was the stuff of childhood lore, really, those few years when garter snakes declared the low area just behind the house their territory. We’d lead unsuspecting friends over to the barrel with the mesh lid on it and they’d run away shrieking at the sight of that day’s capture writhing up the sides, looking … Continue reading Snake Bucket
A few months ago, I sat down with my nature-connection colleague Sean Guinan of the Environmental Pediatrics Institute to chat about “rewilding childhood.” It’s a concept that we could all do well to embrace as our use of technology expands and our children are born into a world that is vastly different from the one that greeted us. I’m in that weird “fringe” or “micro” generation, the one that includes anybody born from about 1977 through 1983. When I was in high school, my friend Jena helped me come up with my first email address. There was a class called “keyboarding,” and the computers were huge machines that took up entire desks. We did research using encyclopedias, and there were limits to how many “web” resources you could use when writing a paper. I had a cell phone in college but almost never used it since it was so expensive, and I turned in my senior paper …. on paper, and it got returned marked up in red ink. Social media was not a thing until I was well out of college, though Instant messaging had started to permeate the campus the last few years of my undergraduate days. In short, I remember what it was like to live in the analog world, and digital technology took on a ‘life of its own’ at about the same time I did. Those who share my generation, or those who were born in generations prior might resonate with the following:
If you grew up in the 1980s or before, it’s likely you spent much of your free time during childhood running around outside, making forts, chasing butterflies, or just kicking around with the neighborhood kids. You didn’t have a cell phone and the video game options were limited. Going outside was the best option.
Most of my childhood was spent living seven miles south of a small college town in eastern South Dakota. Days in the summer were spent outside in the fields around our five acre plot, picking berries and vegetables in the garden (enthusiastically…some of the time) and strategically placing Breyer horse models and My Little Ponies in various little nooks and crannies around the homestead. Spring was muddy and wet, but that just meant there were streams in the back in which to splash. Fall was about apples and jumping in piles of leaves and waiting for the first snowflake. Winter was all about burrowing into the snow, sledding down the hills in the neighbor’s pasture and skating on the frozen cow pond. My brothers and I roamed. Continue reading “Safety and Risk: Enough”