A connection to nature is one of the most precious gifts our children have. Not only does time close to the earth nourish their physical body, but also their mind and soul. We all have the ability to re-connect children with nature, regardless of our outdoors knowledge or experience.
A powerful and simple tool available to us all is the timeless wander. This experience is usually overlooked because it runs counter to one of modern society’s strongest assumptions: Children are buckets that must be filled. Time where children are not amassing information, facts and knowledge is usually seen as wasted.
But for children to enjoy experiences close to nature we must work not to fill buckets but to empty them. When children are full of nothing but facts, life becomes a boring, repetitive treadmill, where all there is to know is information. Unfortunately this leaves behind real, personal experiences. Children turn off. For example, if I am full with information about cottonwood trees, the next time I come across one I am likely to say, “It’s just a cottonwood. I know everything about them already. There’s nothing more I can learn from this.”
The empty cup supports children in being spontaneous, alive, and inspired by each present moment. This is where the timeless wander comes in. There’s no agenda; nowhere children have to be, nothing they have to do, and no time to worry about. With a new-found sense of freedom, children return to a deep and meaningful connection with nature. Peace, joy and creativity are experienced in abundance!
The timeless wander simply leaves three things behind: Time, Destination and Expectation. This is life-changing.
As we wander, leaving time, destination and expectation behind we find a different child emerges. Nature turns from a pre-planned treadmill into a sanctuary of inspiration and play. Children soon begin to seek more experiences close to the earth because that is where they feel most alive. Without those three anchors to weigh them down children discover that nature is the source of their deepest peace, greatest joy and most abundant creativity.
Simon Paul Harrison is the founder of Wild Earth’s Children and the author of The Truly Alive Child: For Those Who Seek a Grander Vision for Our Children. Available now from www.simonpaulharrison.com or Amazon.