Children and nature
Our minds, our bodies and our spirits are interwoven with the natural world. We’ve been living in contact with nature for thousands of years. We humans have evolved because of interaction with nature. And affection has always been present in this relationship. But we have moved away from nature, as “progress and development” were put at the top of agendas of every government in the world.
And because of urbanization, I think we’ve become numb. We have become “inhuman”. We have lost the ability to be amazed by nature. To wonder how a snail is born, where peppercorn really comes from, and how worms can see underground without eyes.
When we are born we have a sense of equality with all beings. I think psychoanalysts call it “syncretic thoughts”. There is no sense of hierarchy and no single thing is best.cH
Childhood is a state of looking at the world with fresh eyes. Each child that arrives in this world is nature manifesting itself again and again.
When we were kids, we had the will and joy to reinvent nature or to find other ways that didn’t seem obvious. We tried to discover, experience and wonder.
Now, with urbanization, the big change for our children is the shrinking horizons of their childhood. When we were small we could venture into our communities. We could walk to school. Today, everyday freedoms have been declining in cities. Our process of urbanization – cementing everything – is based on consumption and privatization of public areas. Children suffer the most when we limit green areas. We now have a concept of care that doesn’t take nature as the core value.
Children spend their free time with digital media. Few go outdoor, enjoy nature.
Children are no longer safe to venture out; they have nowhere to play. When I was a kid, my mom would say, eat and get out of here. Technology has consumed children so much it is sad.
Kids are losing their childhood, their freedom, their rights. Many parents prevent their children from venturing outside or moving freely around their communities to discover things for themselves and learn.
Children are kept at home, many feeling like they are being stored in boxes. Or they move around in a car, which is another box. They don’t know anymore how to fly kites, play with marbles or balls or spin tops.
We keep children in a tight leash because of the violence outside.
Kids don’t go out anymore so many suffer from obesity, attention deficit disorders and even myopia. If they don’t spend time outside, how can they fall in love with places? And if they don’t fall in love with places, how can they take care of it?
Many children are depressed because they don’t care about anything. We have harmed their future, stealing it as we destroy their environment. But it’s not too late. Let us not turn into garbage dumps the lakes and beaches we used to swim in.
Let us give them access to nature, to the moon, sun and rain. Let us care about the future of human beings.
Any politician willing to take on this responsibility? Make children’s welfare his/her primary advocacy? Educate our children and shape their lives, thus shape our future?
Four-year old Joshua King “KingKing” Ursua Herance is the son of my farm caretakers Wendel and Rose. They brought him to my bukid when he was two. He is a cute and inquisitive boy!!