Three minutes in, they asked if they could veer off the trail to climb some rocks and explore the nearby stream. My first instinct was to say, “No! That’s too dangerous and we have to make it to the coffee shop for hot chocolate before dark!” Remembering my chats with Richard and Bob, and thinking back to research I had read about how parents’ perceptions of safety contribute to the decline in kids’ outdoor experiences, I caught myself, and said instead, “Sure! Go explore.”
Tears actually came to my eyes as I watched my kids climb up and slide down the rocks on their bottoms (unharmed, I might add). When my daughter fell in the creek (as a girl who hikes in flats will inevitably do) she laughed. We all laughed. We never did make it to the coffee shop, but we had a beautiful afternoon together that I will remember for a long time.
– Amy Nelson, “Run-of-the-Mill Mom Gives Gift of Nature,” Rhizome (the blog of Biohabitats Inc., December 24, 2012; Nelson is the editor of their newsletter Leaf Litter, and devoted their latest issue to “Giving Children the Gift of Nature”)