You know what is great about the Upper Midwest? Nature! And you know what? It's really everywhere, not just here! The greatness of Nature is that is seems to find it's way into every crevice and nook and cranny that it can. It seems like God, through his creation, is saying, "I AM HERE!"
This little weathered crack on I-94, the dry, sun-beaten Playground in the inner city, the church parking lot, the railings across the world - all the little places where water and sun and seed can slip in, God's creative power also slides in and speaks. Through the power of his hand the littlest weed, succulent, moss or flower grows. And it is wonderful. Majestic Beauty.
Have you ever stopped to look at the way moss grows? I don't even know much about it. It's definitely worth an upcoming object lesson for a family Nature Study. But look at it? Do you see this little patch of moss, growing in sunny Bath, UK. Do you wonder just what the little flower-like fingers are sticking up out of the soft green? Do you stop to wonder? Do you stop and think and want to know.
One very sad thing that I have been noticing over the past few years is the decline of children playing outside. We kind of all know it's a problem, right? Research tells us that too much T.V., cell phones, Video games and the like are unhealthy for all of us. But what are we doing about it?
I am very excited to read a new book I've just received in the mail called The Last Child in the Woods. It's apparently filled with research about the health benefits of being in Nature. I believe it will challenge me and encourage me to wonder more. Even more importantly, I want it to push me to let my children wonder more!
In an effort to do something about what research seems to be telling us, I am trying a simple project over the summer. I have invited families from all over the Twin Cities to join my family on a monthly Nature Hike. There are several goals for these hikes.
1. Get outside. Get Fresh Air. Get Exercise.
2. Be in Nature, in a wild place where my children can use all of their senses to experience the beauty of God's creation. I want the children who join us to know and understand their Loving, Heavenly Father who made the tiny Forget-Me-Nots, and the crayfish, and the Chickadee.
3. I want to wonder. I want to teach other Mamas to wonder. I want my kiddos to wonder. Who made this? How did it come to be? What parts does it have? How does it survive? What are these little parts on the side of the insect for?
4. The Habit of careful attention and observation. We live in a S.T.E.M. society. Everyone wants people to study the sciences really rigorous sciences, right?... Well, what better way to make a good scientist then through creating curiosity, wonder and the ability in young children to make scientific observations? It's really great!
5. Fellowship and Community. Another thing really lacking in our modern culture is a sense of community. I believe there are a lot a lonely people in our age. How can we come together to love and listen and enjoy time together? I'd say a nice walk in the countryside will do! Sit by a stream and paint your treasures from your nature hike. Feed your children. Talk about life and family and school and God. (And maybe a snapping turtle too!) That's really life-giving!
So join us! We had a lovely hike at Minnehaha Falls today. We got to know new families and enjoyed the beautiful weather and fellowship. We caught teeny fish and brought home a pet Crawdad! Now we get to observe him from home and see his changing colors as he grows and molts. We still have 2 more hikes left in the summer!
And, Boo-Hoo if you can't. So make sure while you're out searching for the little Pokemon guy (please don't get hit by a car or run someone else over with your skate board), put down your phone long enough to stop, and look at what's around you. Talk to your children about Jesus and how he was with God from the beginning of creation. And how he made the pretty bumblebee and cardinal. Help them to truly see, know, understand, and wonder about the tiny things and the big things. Wonder together about the rocks, the weather, and the stars. Help them and be amazed. And maybe you'll all come out of it loving your God a whole TON more!
Spread the Feast Community
FAMILY NATURE STUDY