Monday thought of the week: alone in the natural world

A thought:

I don’t question the vulnerability of children. Part of the magic of the natural experience, for a child, stems from the fact that the experience — and the danger — is vital and real. It’s instructive to note, however, that children often may be safer alone in the natural world than in their own homes. Medical conditions, car wrecks and shootings make up more than 60 percent of all child deaths, none of them the result of being alone in nature.

– Bryan Welch, “Growing Up Free: Inspiring a Love of Nature,” Mother Earth News (March 7, 2014)

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One Response to Monday thought of the week: alone in the natural world

  1. Laura says:

    Michael, how do you respond to this article? The statistics mentioned in it aren’t convincing to me in the least; my son is hands down safer in our own home than he would be alone in nature since he isn’t going to be shot, abused, or struck by a car here. But I do agree with the author that my 9 year old son is not having the same quality of experiences that I had, exploring on his own. My parents usually didn’t worry a bit about me running wild from a very young age, exploring private property that included fields, woods, creeks and ponds. My dad was sometimes a bit worried that I might run into escaped convicts from a local penitentiary. We moved here because we wanted our son to have access to nature, but don’t own land ourselves. So it’s all public land that we explore. Just like my parents, I’m pretty unconcerned about nature being threatening and more concerned about other people. I know someone who freeranges her young kids and they regularly explore a local city park alone. A couple times people have lead her kids home and told her on no uncertain terms that if they ever see them unaccompanied again, they’ll call child protective services. Yet I keep seeing this idea expressed- that feeling vulnerable in nature is vital to developing a love for it. We’ve got some major obstacles- how do we do this?

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