Monday thought of the week: advice to parents

A thought:

Here’s my advice to parents:

1) Kick them out of the house! Our parents did this. They said, “Go outside and play, come back for supper.” Send them outdoors, if only in the back yard.

2) Take an active role in learning your nonhuman neighbors along with your kids: a bird a month, a flower a week, a cloud formation a year. Look at the actual object together. Don’t let the useful Google supplant the actual object.

3) Let the kids explore without supervision of parents. This is good for their imagination. Make sure it’s safe, then stay at the periphery and let the kids prowl on their own. You’re not going to recover what we’re losing without this. This is where a great deal of imagination can be brought to bear. Urban areas like Detroit and Cleveland are beginning to take advantage of their vast new open spaces, from cleared, blighted neighborhoods, to create kid-friendly wild-parks in vacant lots. I like to say that nothing is less vacant than a vacant lot to curious kids.

– Naturalist and author Robert Michael Pyle, in an interview for Terrain.org (May 31, 2015), when asked “What advice do you have for parents raising kids today? How do you suggest encouraging them to engage with the natural world?”

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