“We make time for soccer practice but we don’t make time or schedule time to just be outside...”.
(Urban Wild Case Study Parent)
Social norms or pressures around how parents should be allocating time can be a challenge for getting our families outside. One Urban Wild parent, during my case study, described this challenge best; “We are conditioned to think that there are other things that we should be doing to take up the time or keep them [children] busy”.
Reflecting on their nature club experience, several parents shared that they would dedicate more time outdoors as a family after developing the following insight: nature is a valuable partner in our family experiences. Nurturing our relationship with the natural world pulls us away from day to day distractions and allows us to engage fully with our family.
Parents observed that the child-nature relationship provided a cure from boredom. This came as a relief and surprise to many parents as their children found activities to keep them busy with very little adult guidance. Also significant was the state of presence or a grounding effect that parents reflected on as a result of their own relationship with the natural world. Ultimately providing families an opportunity to be themselves together — results in an authentic family experience,
I think we can all recognize the value of being present in the moment but how often in our family lives do we achieve this bliss? What are the effects on children today witnessing their parents in a state of constant rush that has been described in literature as “time sickness”- the feeling that there is never enough time?
The state of presence experienced by parents during nature-based family activities can result in positive impressions on children — reinforcing their connection with the natural world. Ultimately, we are recognizing something that has always been available to us in the natural world — the gift of time.