Monday, December 6, 2010
Yesterday I was driving home from a kid's birthday party when I began to notice Bella was counting. I thought she was just horsing around with Alina but she eventually said "Daddy, they are everywhere!" Not knowing what she was talking about I asked her. She explained to me that she was counting squirrel nests (dreys) and that she didn't know there could be so many. It's that time of the year when the leaves have just fallen and squirrel dreys can be seen almost everywhere. When it comes to little kids, especially my own, I take any opportunity I can to explain about animals, plants, weather, etc. and share my love of nature with them. I know a lot of what I say goes in one ear and then out of the other but I hope some of it sticks. I was happy to know that the little bit of information I had told her weeks ago had stayed with her. It may have seemed insignificant at the time but the fact that she remembered it and it seemed to change the way she looked at the world is important. Any exposure to nature, large or small, it may not only lead her and other children to better appreciate the environment around them but it will also lead to a better understanding of the world in which they live. When their time is here and ours is over, this understanding is what will help them to make the best possible decisions to take care of our planet. I don't believe this means every child needs an African safari or a trip to the Amazon (though those would be cool). It can be accomplished with a simple trip to the backyard to look at fireflies, overturning a few stones in a stream to look at salamanders, pointing a telescope at the moon, looking at the clouds, or even better....take them fishing! The point is that a little exposure to nature could go a long way with a small child so take every opportunity to do so. Thinking back on it, I came to realize that Bella knows quite abit for a 4 1/2 year old. She knows how many planets there are and that Saturn has rings. She knows the sound a sea robin sometimes makes when out of water, what a bluegill and brook trout look like, that the heart's job is to pump blood, and that a moose looses and regrows his antlers every year. Maybe I'm doing a decent job so far but I plan to do more. I hope everyone out there with their own kids or nieces and nephews or some kind of connection to little kids will do the same.