Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19 - Dirt Under Our Nails

The very cool plant pot from Grammy.
Nate is very glad that it is no longer
holding newspapers. 
Dirt under our fingernails, seeds in the pot, weeds plucked out of the garden, and dumped… well, in the “dump,” equals a couple of happy children.  Grampa gave us seeds and Grammy sent home the beloved plant pot today.  So the stage was set.  After a long car ride back from New Hampshire the kids were ready to be out In the sun getting their hands dirty.  There is something truly magical about planting seeds.  You take this hard little object, drop it in some dirt, water it, make sure it has space once in awhile and then the miracle of growth takes place. 

This round of planting did not take very long and the kids were eager to continue their gardening adventures.  Each took ownership of one of the tulips* that was planted last fall.  They pulled the weeds growing around them and brought them up to their dump in Nate’s dumptruck.  The tulips must have their space.  Then the watering commenced.  There are a lot of things that Elli and Nate play, but watering always increases their excitement.  Somehow carrying little watering cans from the bathroom sink outside gives them great joy and trails of water from the sink out the door…

In a time when our generation of kids has been characterized as having a nature deficit, I am so thrilled to see my children getting excited to be outdoors interacting with the natural environment around us.  While conceptually I understand that there are more things competing for our children’s time, I struggle with this notion of nature deficit.  Maybe it’s where we live, but I see opportunities for children to connect with nature as being easy.  Kids are eager to engage with the natural world.  With very little adult effort kids experience great joy over natural things. Perhaps the reason for nature deficit is that, in many cases, connection with nature does require some effort from parents.  Effort takes energy and in a society that is often overextended, there’s not always much left for play in general. 

* My friend John shared his daughter’s favorite joke a couple of years ago -  “What kind of flower grows between your nose and chin?”  “Tulips!”

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