Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How to Raise a Wild Child - A Book Recommendation

The current political atmosphere has knocked the wind out of my presidential biography reading sails. The upside is that I can devote the time I usually spend reading tedious biographies to the 40 plus books on my other reading list. I have an eclectic taste in reading material. I love fiction and non-fiction equally.

Screen shot of just a portion of the books on my To-Be-Read list

I also have a terrible habit of taking a long time to read a book requiring me to renew the library book repeatedly. I'm working on doing that less, which is easier when I'm not binge watching something fantastic on Netflix.

Today's recommendation is How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott D. Sampson. I don't remember where I learned about this book, but he title certainly piqued my interest.

The author is a paleontologist recognizable to your children if they are/were fans of Dinosaur Train on PBS. The basic premise is that in this digital age children are spending far too much time indoors, and Sampson highlights reasons why that's detrimental as well as ways to increase our children's exposure and love for nature.

I am an ideal consumer of his knowledge and wisdom because 1. I'm not too outdoorsy and 2. I'm not drawn to science. This book is a lovely combination of personal stories of exposing his young daughter to nature, descriptions of current research on social behavior as it relates to nature and the environment, and reasonable tips for increasing a family's exposure to the outdoors.

Woven throughout the book was the use of the abbreviation EMU as a way to think about exposing children to nature. Sampson believes that nature exploration happens through Experience, Mentoring, and Understanding. He introduces the reader to the idea of being a child's mentor and assures adults that to be a mentor, one does not need to be an expert. This was an encouraging discovery for me.

He talked about the importance of balancing our need to keep our children safe with providing opportunities for our children to explore the great outdoors on their own without too much "hovering" by adults.  He called this being a hummingbird parent where as our children age, we move farther away and "zoom in only when necessary." I appreciate having new language to describe things I am already doing. Hummingbird parenting is such an example.

Sampson also suggested that we need to change the way we discuss the future and our role in helping to protect nature and the environment.  He recommended changing our language from sustainability to thrivability. I really like that shift in our thinking.

I enjoyed this read more than I expected to and have some great ideas for how to expose Cadence to the wonders of our beautiful outside space. And was also able to consume it in one check out period at the library. Bonus!

In honor of the beautiful tulips that have bloomed in my yard, I give this book five out of five tulips.

PS: Bonus material: I learned a new word whilst reading this book. 

BIOPHILIA - the love of life

The wordie in me swooned. Love of life, indeed.

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