Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A rant about 'Nature deficit disorder' ... ...

These are my own views, they are not based on any research or statistics, just my opinion as a parent.

Not content with the myriad of disorders our kids can already suffer from we have a new contender in the form of 'Nature deficit disorder'

I'm not making this up by the way - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17495032 (opens in new window)

This isn't the first time I've heard this term, or the first time I've heard that kids (and adults) are loosing touch with nature, it's been happening for years, and the term 'Nature deficit disorder' was coined by American Richard Louv in 2005 - http://richardlouv.com/ (opens in new window)

I haven't read the book, and to be honest I know very little about Richard Louv, but I do know we are loosing touch with nature, child and adult alike, I've seen it with my own eyes, did you know some people who live near me didn't know that this country has native lizards ? tell me that's not a shame.

And what about kids who have no idea what or where some of their food comes from, I read an article a while ago that said some kids who were asked about food thought carrots were made up, not grown squeezed out of some machine in a factory some where, things like this make me sad.

So who is to blame ?

Well I personally think it's a variety of things, for a start trying to keep track of 30 kids in a class room is difficult and taking them to a local woods or park is going to be much harder, I understand schools reluctance to risk loosing a child or having one get injured, we live in a world where suing people is the new black, and then there's the cost of having extra staff to help keep an eye on them, and with the government cutting costs left right and centre it's not going to get any easier any time soon.

I'd like to say that it's the fault of schools or the government and in part it probably is, I recently said on twitter that if it's a 'disorder' it can't be the fault of the government or the schools, and I've seen the way some school herd children about when they do let them out into the open.

The reality I suspect is a bit different, remember this ? - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9001511/Peppa-Pig-is-making-children-naughty-parents-fear.html (opens in new window)

This article had me ranting for ages, for crying out loud it's a kids tv program, and speaking from experience I can almost guarantee that a kid is going to view a puddle in the same way whether they've seen peppa pig or not, it's what being a kid is about, exploring,getting muddy (heaven forbid) and general finding out about the world they live in, so maybe it's parents that are to blame ? we do tend to wrap our kids in cotton wool these days, it's a far cry to what I remember when I was a kid, if we didn't get at least one cut knee or bruised elbow and covered in mud it wasn't a good day out.

My point is that what chance do our kids have if we worry when they jump in a puddle ? what harm does muddy water do ? basically none, perhaps it's more to do with the pile of washing it creates ... ...

I get that times are different now, me and my friends could go out in the morning in the summer holidays and not be back until it was dark, our parents didn't have the worries we do now, it's a dangerous world for any number of reasons, but even so is that any excuse not to let them explore ? what about taking them to the woods ? or the local park to play football ? nature is almost everywhere and it doesn't cost to walk about in it.

It's up to us is what I'm saying, I home educate my kids and we get out when ever we can, our kids are very interested in nature, they love it, and that's in part down to us dragging them away from the tv and their video games and saying come outside and look at the flowers and the animals.

If we don't engage their minds who will ? the schools ? the government ? see this is as much about us as it is them, if they see us getting grubby looking for bugs or doing some gardening they'll want in on the action, are our lives so busy we don't have the time to get into nature with our kids ? ask yourself if twitter,facebook and what ever else are that important you can't turn off the pc or your phone and go and have a walk out in the open.

I'm as bad as the next person for using the pc, but take it from me switching it off once in a while is good, and look at the upside, instead of telling people online how many cups of tea you've had that morning you get to spend quality time with your kids,you get exercise out in the fresh air, you learn about stuff, you save money in electric bills and on your phone bill.

They are our kids, it's not the sole responsibility of the schools or the government to raise them and teach them, that job is ours, ultimately the schools and the government work for us, and what hope does the planet have if future generations of kids have no interest in it ?

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