Friday, May 1, 2009

The birds and the bees

Yeah...I mean the birds and bees, not honeybees. I was talking with a handful of moms who all have kids about my kids ages. One was relating a story about a teacher who was showing her class squirrels in the school yard. She felt compelled to pull the shade down when ...well love was in the air and they squirrels started mating. One student asked what the squirrels were doing and another answered her correctly tho maybe a bit too graphically.

What shocked these moms was that it was a third grade classroom. Huh? Don't third graders know what mating is? I don't expect them to understand the nuances of human mating rituals, but not know what mating is? Yikes is my thought.

Me, being a tree-hugging dirt-worshiper that I am, have pointed out when birds or dragonflied mate to my two nature-loving kids. It isn't the focus of our explorations in nature, but it is there, expecially this time of year.

I was surprised to find that none of my friends knew what it looked like when birds mated.

After some rather funny starts, I explained how birds mate and dragonflies too. It was the first time I've come across something called Nature Deficit Disorder in adults. Environmentalists and traditional educators have identified an innate craving people have to be in nature - to explore - to experience the outdoors. Some experts suggest that it is this disconnect from nature that so many youth are experiencing that is the root cause of many behavior problems.

I am not sure I'd buy in to ADHD being cured by a walk in the woods, but I do believe we all have a primal need to spend time with the sun on our faces, open spaces around us, and nothing particular to do but be.

And watch the birds mate.

1 comment:

  1. I think letting Cameron hike with us last week helped his behavior a bit, despite being frustrating at times. I think he really enjoyed the independence & learned not to get upset about getting dirt on his hands.

    My goal for this summer --- to let the kids get dirty more often. It will be tougher on me than them.


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