Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Another Rant (Naturally!)
*Today's Rant:* I am vexed by children who are afraid of dirt, won't touch bugs, and act like they're 86 instead of 6! (Shannan feels my pain, right?) For those who may not know, I volunteer as a teacher at Cypress Swamp Nature Center and work mostly with first graders. I am continually amazed and annoyed by the total unfamiliarity with nature that is shown by the kids I encounter and, worse, their lack of interest, curiosity, and compassion for the world around them. With rare exceptions, these kids are either terrified of nature or display an appalling apathy or disregard. They reluctantly leave their fluorescent lit cocoons and turn off their Wiis only when forced and then only when their parents cover them in toxic aerosol insect repellents and rub them down with hand sanitizer every 15 minutes. It's no wonder they think the outdoors is a dangerous place! Parents, get a grip! A little dirt won't hurt! Kids should WANT to get dirty, to catch bugs, to play outside, to run around. Not the kids I see! After a short walk on mostly flat ground, I invariably hear the call of the Southeastern Juvenile Whiner, "It's hooooot. I'm tiiiiiired. I'm huuuuungry." If you keep listening, their calls rise to a piercing crescendo; "My feeeeet huuuuurt! I'm tiiiiiiired of waaaaaaalkiiiiiiing." Good gracious, my grandmother has more energy than these kids and she's been dead for 10 years! What have we created by harping on the dangers of sun exposure, Lyme disease, anaphalactic shock from bee stings,and other evils that lurk outside in the world? We have created a generation of kids who know all of the risks and dangers that await them but never get to experience the joy of unfettered exploration in the natural world and never gain the skills, experience, competence, self-esteem, and empathy that comes from forming a bond with nature. What a shame.