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Malkie Herson's Blog

Thoughts from Malkie Herson

RAISING (ECO-) CONSCIOUS CHILDREN

RAISING (ECO-) CONSCIOUS CHILDREN

 Life has so many blessings; what's often missing is our mindfulness, taking pause to recognize and appreciate them.

Our planet is one of those blessings. Our environment, the majesty of nature, is an incredible gift.
But it's more than a gift; it's a responsibility. We are called to be 'partners in creation' by doing our part to protect, improve and meaningfully utilize our world and its resources.

Ancient as it is, this mindset is rapidly [re]gaining currency. Eco-friendliness is widely accepted as the responsible mindset. Every day, more people begin to appreciate a world beyond their respective driveways, recognizing that we each have a role as stewards of our world.

But, sometimes adopting this lifestyle is quite challenging. It is not easy to let go of long-standing habits, our default positions. It takes a lot of effort to reconstruct our perspectives.

And that's the critical point. When we "educate a child when he is young; even when he grows old he will not depart from it," taught King Solomon. It is the lessons and practices of our youth that become ingrained as the habits in our adult lives. So, by inspiring our children to feel a genuine, palpable relationship with nature, we are shaping this future-adult's perspective from the bottom-up.
Children are eager learners. By creating nature-friendly environments for our children, with loving role models who embrace the larger world with care and sensitivity, we foster a positive and constructive relationship with nature.

·        Make sure your child has adequate opportunity to play in natural playgrounds, as opposed to rubberized or concrete playgrounds. Children have an innate, sometimes subconscious, affinity for the outdoors. Children love to get dirty with mud and play with sand and pebbles. In warm weather, they love slopping around in water; and in the cold, they love the snow. They are captivated by creepy-crawlies, chasing butterflies and holding slimy inchworms. What better way for them to meet their natural instincts and to build lifelong connections with their world?

·        Anchor your child's natural play with conversations about values. "Look at that bird! What a glorious world, full of glorious creations. We are so fortunate to share the world with them. It is our responsibility to protect them." Children are far more competent than society sometimes imagines. Don't underestimate the child's capacity to understand.

·        Sensitize your child to cycles. Help them compare the outdoor world from one season to the next, the way the moon looks at different times of the month, nature's life cycles, etc. Since young children are not yet able to keep broad perspective, you can help jog their memory by showing photographs of past experiences.

·        Point out responsible practices – like solar panels, recycling, etc. Discuss with your child how these things help the world, and why they are so important. Even if the child is too young to fully comprehend your perspective and behavior, you are modeling a world-view which will eventually make sense to her.

·       Of course, set a good example. And, talk about it. That way, both your actions and your words send a consistent message.

As adults, not only do we have the moral imperative to live responsibly in our own lives, we have to purposefully foster a relationship between our children and their world. After all, our world will become theirs!

 

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