There is a rather new term coined to describe kids’ behaviors gone awry due to lack of exposure to the outdoors, Nature-Deficit Disorder. The gist of the phenomenon is that “the child in nature is an edangered species, and the health of children and the health of the Earth are inseperable.” (Richard Louv) Last Child in the Woods is a life altering book written by Louv and exploring the increase of anxiety and ill behaviors in kids today. He points to the obvious benefits of being exposed to nature and the real link between higher rational thinking, a peaceful spirit and the opportunity to play in the woods. I would recommend this book to all educators and parents.
I have always known I need more quiet time than most people – I have always been fortunate to live within minutes of the woods and mountains, so I have tried to rejuvenate as much as possible. This book tells us it is imperative that our children have those opportunities. In much the same way as art and music have been proven to sooth the beast and extend the feelers in our underused brains, Louv presents the argument that the outdoors has the same therapaeutic potential.
Go hug a tree!