We love nature. All of us. I can’t think of one person that says they hate being outside. And for good reason, It’s where we come from, and comprises all that we are made of.
We ARE nature.
But here’s the thing. We live in an electronic world. As much as I would love to deny my child screens in all forms, it’s just not practical. I am just as wired up as anyone, and I love the convenience. I love having what is a virtual library of information accessible to me at all times. We regularly come up with bizarre questions that we love finding the answers to and when we get those answers, we are all the wiser.
Technology helps our kids become smarter. More curious. Connected to a great big wide world of people and lifestyles, cultures and gobs of information. It’s all done through electronics.
But everything comes at a cost. Shortened attention spans. Wanting everything immediately. Decreased amounts of exercise. Bad farsightedness. Less social bonding. Sleeplessness. Potential hyperactivity. We all know the con’s because we deal with them everyday.
I fought screens for a really long time. I treated them like the evIl I thought they were, but we all know that it’s silly to think we can live a life without screens and still be a part of our society. The internet has connected all of us virtually, and this is how we communicate now with friends, distant family, and business connections throughout the world. It even connects me to my own child who lives on the opposite coast during the school year. Because of the internet, we are both cursed and blessed.
This project aims not to FIGHT screens, the internet, or our automated lives, but to work WITH those things. Electronics and the internet offer us a wealth of opportunity, information, and connectedness. We can try to live without technological advancement in effort to retain our natural connection to the world, but in aiming to do so, we only disconnect from the rhythms of our society.
So what do we do now?
We do it different.
We already do lots of things different in the name of growth. Sure, we could go to McDonald’s to eat everyday because it’s ready made for us, but we know that isn’t healthy, and we know a real milkshake made from home tastes better than a fast, pre-made mix any day because there’s nothing quite like the real thing.
This screens thing should be treated the same. Instead of hating on technology, let’s use it in a balanced way, and commit to nature as much as we do our email, Facebook time, Sunday night shows, or our Candy Crush.
The virtual connectedness is amazing. It’s why I can work from home, see and talk to my kid during the school year, see family 5 states away, and freelance write for someone in the UK. However, the natural world is where I come from, and my natural rhythm comes from the seasons as they change. The water I drink comes from it too. When we are outside we feel alive and restored. There’s something amazing about losing time in the woods, tinkering in the food garden underneath the sunshine, having a run in the cool morning air, and listening to crickets at night. Technology will never give us that. No matter how gorgeous a screen, or video. It will never be the real thing.
The mission here ought not be to banish electronics, our advancements and the opportunities all of this presents for us, but to maintain our connection to our natural world. We need to strike a balance. One that continually sways between our connectedness both natural and virtual. If we can create that working balance as we raise our children, and take care of ourselves, our children will learn to do the same. Our children in nature will grow up to be tech-savvy, grounded, strong, independent, wise, and devoted both to themselves, the planet, and everyone on it.