Friday, April 23, 2010

You're part of the life there

Have you ever wandered lonely through the woods?
And everything there feels just as it should
You're part of the life there
You're part of something good
If you've ever wandered lonely through the woods
if you've ever wandered lonely through the woods

Have you ever stared into a starry sky?
Lying on your back you're asking why
What's the purpose I wonder who am I
If you've ever stared into a starry sky
Have you ever stared into a starry sky

Have you ever been out walking in the snow?
Tried to get back to where you were before
You always end up not knowing where to go
If you've ever been out walking in the snow
If you'd ever been out walking you would know

Brandi Carlile


Children being disconnected to nature is a problem. So, we need to "fix" it.

The answer may be found in an old man and his dog, walking home for dinner as the sun light dapples across the ground. His wife, alone in the front yard is waiting for him.

Maybe it is no simpler than that.

I don't want to declare that I have the answers, I would rather ask questions...

and listen.

Run. Home. For Dinner.

Why is this one phrase so important to me? It symbolizes the many complexities in how children are being raised into one simple fragment.

Children don't run home for dinner anymore and here's why:

1. Run.
Kids are sitting more and running less. Sure, it is the obvious things: TV, computers, video games...But it may be the less obvious reasons that I'm more interested in. Children are never a lone. They are always with adults. "Run" implies a sense of freedom -- without limits or structure. Rooted in fear, and in some cases reasonably so, we don't open the door and let children go outside by themselves. If children are playing outside, they are running on soccer fields or running to the car to be taken to their extracurricular activities. They don't just run freely.

2. Home.
To Run Home, they have to be somewhere else. If they aren't outside in the first place, they won't be needing to run home. Many children are prisoners in their own homes since they can't go outside when their parents are at work. Many families may not get home to their kids until the sun sets. Moms and Dads come home exhausted from the day to children laying on the couch with a lot of untapped energy.

3. For Dinner.
There is no dinner on the table to run home to. Only 30% of Families eat meals together on a daily basis. In three decades, family meal time has decreased by 33%. These figures are almost a decade old themselves. These numbers are probably rising as fast as obesity prevalence.

So that's it? That's the end of the story? It will be if we don't do something about it.

I say,
1. Let kids run...alone.
2. Open the door
3. Set the table

and call them home for dinner...

Where have all the children gone?

I spent many childhood days running outdoors until I saw the sun fade into the horizon. It did not go completely dark at that point, I learned that there was still some light left in the day. And daylight meant one thing: I could play outside.

My parents and I had this agreement:
I was going to be around the neighborhood. They didn't always know exactly where --
I was either up the hill, in the building, down back, playing in the street, behind our house in the woods, in my fort, in Katie's driveway, the cul-da-sac, on my sidewalk, in the pine trees...

So long as it was light out, they knew where to find me: Outside.

So where are all the kids now? I look out my window and I don't see them.