These past few weeks spent watching my kids play in the summer light, a thought has slowly taken shape in my heart and profoundly shifted my experience as their mother. Nature is their third parent.
When the girls scale rocks and branches, nature is helping them build resilience and strength.
When they play in the mud, nature is nurturing their creativity and building their immunity.
When they encounter death on our farm, nature is teaching my girls about the fragility and value of life.
Suddenly I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I didn't have to do it all. I didn't have to be EVERYTHING.
When the flowers bloom, my daughters know beauty.
When they forage for wild edibles, they are being fed and nourished.
When the seasons shift, they experience impermanence, patience and change.
Nature has been there beside through it all, occupying the kids when they get "bored", aiding in their emotional and physical development, and most importantly giving them the space and freedom to play.
It might not be the traditional village of our dreams, but the closer we get to nature the more chance we have of recognizing it as one of our biggest allies on this parenting journey. Only in modern times has nature been passively backdropped against our busy lives. In the past, nature was characterized and understood as a force, an active participant playing a vital role within the context of the family and wider community. And she's still there, patiently waiting for us to ask for help.
I would love to read in the comments below how nature has supported you in your journey as parents and caretakers. Thanks so much!
Your Woman Gone Wild,
Thanks for sharing. The environment is certainly an under rated teacher/parent!
Love your stories, even I support outdoor learning for children, and also doing a study on it as a Ph.D student in one of the University in Michigan. Want to know more about you and your experiences, so that I could include that in my study. How can I contact you?