When my kids were younger, they intrinsically loved the outdoors and wanted to play and explore outside all the time! As they grow, how do I make sure that their love for the earth includes respect, compassion, reverence and responsibility?
- Model it — My dad always made a big deal about the beautiful sunset, majestic trees, delicate flowers and thundering waves. When your kids see in you a love and reverence for the earth they will imitate it.
- Wow them — Teach your kids about the amazing things all around us. Did you know you can eat dandelion leaves? Why does the sun appear higher in the summer and lower in winter? Watch how the birds build nests and feed their young.
- Clean it — My dad used to say that we always had to leave a place cleaner and in better condition than when we found it. Compost with your kids. Don’t litter, and whenever you see trash, pick it up. Be conscious of what soaps you use as they end up in our waterways.
- Be brutally honest — I’ve never understood the idea of sheltering kids from harsh realities. Talk to them about what pollution and overdevelopment does to our earth and ways to address the problem.
- Embrace life — Life is a miracle and watching it happen creates awe and joy. Plant a garden and watch it grow, move a worm from cement to soil, help a baby bird or squirrel, catch and release spiders from the house. Respect all life and your kids will too.