Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Kahlil Gibran
|African Babies Don’t Cry|
Around the globe in developed nations, but especially in the US, people spend far less time in nature than even 25 or 50 years ago. In 1900, 40% of US households lived on farms. By 1990, only 1.9% of US households lived on farms. This urbanization has changed people’s relationship with nature.
Many aspects of our culture now teach people not to spend time in nature. Parents have become fearful about their children playing outdoors, and children who grow up in primarily built environments often fear nature, largely because it is unfamiliar.
In a very short period of time, humanity has moved from the industrial revolution to a technical revolution where humans are able to live entire lifetimes rarely having to encounter nature.
Disconnected best describes the relationship most American children have with nature.
For me, there is nothing more restorative than walking barefoot across the grass or a sandy beach. Sinking my toes into mud, letting dirt trickle through my fingers…bliss. Why would I deny my child the opportunity to find balance, strength, and healing? Why would I deny her the opportunity to just be in nature?
I have been more than a casual observer of the power of nature as it relates to children. Children are so much a part of nature. There is an intensity to the bond between the earth and children that is lost on most adults. Children are connected to nature by an invisible umbilical cord of sorts. They remain connected until an adult cuts the cord out of fear, carelessness, lack of time, or lack of desire.
|That Mama Gretchen|
It is important to understand that the earth is an electrical planet. Its surface consists of negatively charged electrons. When in contact with the earth, this energy naturally transfers to all conductive objects; whether it is a metal rod, a tree or a barefoot human.
Standing barefooted on the earth connects the body with this unlimited supply of free electrons. These flow through the body and enhance our health by neutralizing free radicals and help to normalize the biological rhythms.
Researches have observed how wild animals use this source of healing. When an animal is hurt or wounded it will retreat to a secure spot and place itself so that the body part that is wounded is pressed down against the earth. This helps the healing process.
Children need the earth to heal.
|True Confessions of a Real Mommy|
Nature is therapeutic on so many levels. Caught in a web of synthetic this and synthetic that, children simply must have the opportunity to release and recharge by grounding out in nature. They cannot do it whilst holed up in their playroom filled with plastic toys and video games. They cannot do it on vinyl floors and cement foundations.
Tiny does her best healing when she is digging a ferocious hole with her bare hands. The treasures she amasses from our daily walks are vital to her well-being. Rocks, dirt clods, flowers, grasses, pods, seeds, fruits, berries, slime, and other treasures of the great outdoors make their way into our home. Tiny needs these pieces of nature inside her domain in a way that transcends explanation. The strength she pulls from all aspects of nature is palpable. You can actually see her aura lighten when she is able to just be in nature as she sees fit.
So many children prefer to be naked. Toddlers are anxious to strip themselves of every piece of clothing. Shoes and socks are kicked off as soon as they are put on. Why do you think children do this? No, not to aggravate their well-meaning parents. They are stripping away that which disconnects them from the natural world. Clothing and shoes are a barrier to feeling the earth beneath their feet and against their tiny bodies. Children have the natural instinct of wanting to be as close to the earth as possible. They understand so much more than we do. We adults have forgotten so much. Our primal instinct has been lost.
I have vowed to support Tiny’s desire and instinctual drive to commune with the natural world as she sees fit. I rarely limit her unless there is a true safety issue. She is free to wallow in mud. She is free to snuggle up to wildlife. She can roll down any hill. She can climb any tree. She can sniff, she can touch, she can lose herself in anything her spirit needs. She is free to be one with the earth.
“One of our greatest fears is to eat the wildness of the world. Our mothers intuitively understood something essential: that green is poisonous to civilization. If we eat the wild, it begins to work inside us, altering us, changing us. Soon, if we eat too much, we will no longer fit the suit that has been made for us. Our hair will begin to grow long and ragged. Our gait and how we hold our body will change. A wild light begins to gleam in our eyes. Our words start to sound strange, nonlinear, emotional. Unpractical. Poetic. Once we have tasted this wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat of it the more we will awaken. It is no wonder that we are taught to close off our senses to Nature. Through these channels, the green paws of Nature enter into us, climb over us, search within us, find all our hiding places, burst us open, and blind the intellectual eye with hanging tendrils of green. The terror is an illusion, of course. For most of our million years on this planet human beings have daily eaten the wild. It’s just that the linear mind knows what will happen if you eat it now.” – Steven Buhner
Allow your children to not only taste but to swallow and digest Mother Earth.
Nature is the ultimate healer.