… you found yourself having fun in a tree? A couple of days ago – the best pressie we could arrange for my son on his 5th birthday was a visit to Point Walter (on the Swan River – Perth, WA) and this:
Now this tree had most of it’s branches spread out over a canopy that would have been near on 25 square metres. Most of this canopy was no more than just over 1 metre off the ground and it was open in such a way that kids – with a healthy sense of confidence and balance – could freely bounce from one branch to the other, thus entertaining (and challenging) themselves for hours on end – at their own leisure. What more could you ask for (as a parent and a kid)?
It brings to mind a post I read over at Broadside’s Blog – “I’m Boooooored! (Thank Heaven)” – an interesting read and view on this whole issue of today’s world and the way in which we seem to be chasing our tail in our constant need to entertain our own children – growing up in a world so reliant on technology. We start our kids young on this – if they get bored today – we put on a DVD. 10 -20 years ago it was a video (VHS mostly). 30 plus years and it’s a fair bet your parents might have used a TV. It’s not a new concept by any means – but I’m guessing that in the last 10 years, it’s become far more complex and – dare I actually say it – insidious!
Now you might think I’m going over the top here and that’s fair enough – but here’s why I feel this way. On one hand we have this wonderful, amazing, and constantly regenerating world – at our finger-tips – outside of our households (encompassed completely in this really groovy thing called ‘Mother Nature’) – but on the other, it has to constantly compete with an electronically generated world on the inside of our homes – inside of our computers!
Tell me something – please – how can computer generated software, ever compete with this:
For the record folks – I climbed into this tree. This tree was tempting me you see and I found myself wanting to so badly – I just couldn’t help myself! When I climbed up into the upper canopy, I paused long enough to shoot a photo of my boy below. Since looking at this image I realised something in hindsight:
All around my son – imprinted in the beach-sand and leaf litter – was the double dimpled footprints of hundreds of little peoples (and their associated big peoples) who’ve been clambering in and amongst this tree, having fun and enjoying what Mother Nature had to offer! Maybe these kids too had discovered the pleasure that can be found in climbing a perfectly good (and all organic / natural) tree too? Perhaps the parents of these kids – or their aunties, uncles, grannies, carers – whomever – allowed them the pleasure of discovering this fun-in-a-tree entertainment, all for themselves? I’d sure like to think so.
In coming back to Broadside and her post – I’d have to say that I’d agree entirely with what Broadside has to say – it’s actually your own responsibility to entertain yourself and it’s our responsibility to help our young ones to develop these skills. If we keep being their constant source of entertainment for them – we’re just asking for trouble! Sure – we’re forced to do battle with a world utterly immersed in technology – but we forget we’ve got a few things hidden up our sleeves: we’ve got our own experiences as a kid growing up in a world so very different to this one and, we have Mother Nature!
Believe me – nothing you could possibly simulate via a computer could come close to actually going out and discovering the real thing for yourself. Go out and re-connect yourself with the parks around you; get them down and dirty in your own garden; take you kids to the zoo; start a worm farm and recycle your kitchen scraps; find a project outdoors and enjoy yourself – enjoy your little peoples – discovering new things and also enjoying themselves. Go on – I dare you!
The possibilities are endless you see – and if you take this on – it has a profound effect on you in two key areas: one – this re-connects you to your family (not to mention other people around you) and two – it re-connects you with our wider environment and the world we live in. It reminds us where we belong in the greater scheme of things and the care we should be taking in interacting with the living world that’s all around us.
What have you got to lose…?
Belongum – Out!