Monday, April 28, 2014

Nature, Wrestling & Scouting

Last week was Spring Break for Cody.  I had to get us all out of the house at least once each day otherwise I was going to loose my mind with the sibling bickering and the time suck that is teenage existence.  

I need to walk, actually, I need to train to hike for our upcoming trip.  Coming off an extensive knee injury that resulted in months of physical therapy has landed me in this hazy place of questionable self ability.  I need to strength train, I need to get use to walking with Will on my back, I need to accept that I need help walking like this on uneven terrain (hello walking poles).
What better way to stifle teenage time suck and get my "training" in than to go on a hike.  GENIUS!


We are actually quite fortunate that we live near a few different nature preserves.  I decided to take the boys to Pilcher Park, which is part of the Joilet Park District.  I haven't been to Picher Park in years...YEARS!  I think that Cody was like 8 years old at the time.  It is also a short 20 minute drive from our home.  

We decided that it would be best if we stayed on the short paved loop (dubbed the acorn trail), but did venture off onto the creek trail for a short bit.  In total we walked about a mile and a half.

We are so fortunate to have such wonderful facilities close by.  To be able to get out and enjoy nature and find the peace and serenity that it holds.
One of my favorite books is Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.  The desire to be out in nature is strong within our family.  Cody is a Boy Scout and Chris is a Cub Scout.  My husband was a Boy Scout.  I'm sure that Will will be a scout.  I live vicariously through my boys in this one regard, and I'm okay with that.   It is a bond that strengthens us as a family through our involvement with the Boy Scouts of America and the programs that our local council offers.  

Being out  - just outside in the backyard, allows creativity and imagination to blossom.  I do my children a disservice if I allow them to tick away their day inside in front of a screen.  Now, our boys do play video games (1 hour each day) and they do watch TV.  Actually, we all enjoy the WWE Network and have gone back to the first WrestleMania and have been slowly working our way to the present.  Oh the fascination with it all.  My husband gets to relive his childhood, I get to remember our "date nights" and our boys get to form their own memories.  The magic of a great story-line unfolding to a 9 year old boy.  The facial expressions alone on Chris's face are entertaining.
Screen-time though...that is very limited in our home.  We only own one TV, and it's in our family room.  It is more often off than on.  Cody and Chris both have various portable gaming systems and e-readers and net-books, but there are all kept in a centralized location.  Permission to use them has to be given and all are locked out of our wireless network.  Using such technology correctly needs to be established before freedom to such devises can be given.  Our very generic rule is that if the sun is out, the TV is broken.  
...and, this along with many of the other choices we have made for our family, is questioned by others.  And, that is okay, because I am doing what is right for my children and my family.  You go ahead and feel free to do what you think is right for your children and your family.  It's quite fine, really.  
The cool thing is, I see the effects to raising my children this way, daily.  They are more engaged in conversations and interact quite well with other people (adults and other children), their temperament is level (oh, I've dealt with my share of the effects of "too much", whether it be screen time or anything else in excess), they are participatory with other family members (love!), and when they are done with their school work and chores they don't give a second thought to going outside to play.  Oh play, it's HOW children learn!  It is the foundation of learning and helps lead to the creativity and curiosity in our Educational Anarchy.  Being able to do it outside just brings it to a different level.  It's freeing.    

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