The Great and Necessary Outdoors

Go out and get some fresh air.

When my children were still in their preschool years, Richard Louv wrote Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from Nature-Deficit Disorder [Algonquin Books,  2005 (2008 – updated and expanded edition)]. His basic point: lack of getting outside in the natural world has some very negative consequences for children. I’m not sure when this bit of common sense moved from something most people took as a given to something that needed scientific research to justify.

Spending all day and night indoors, wired into various devices or sitting in front of a television screen, isn’t good for kids. Our bodies need to move, and we need to engage with the world in a way that we can’t control simply by pushing a button or selecting favorites. The world we build around ourselves, the indoor space we inhabit, can become a hiding place – somewhere we use to escape the larger world, where we can fool ourselves into thinking we can control everything.

But it’s just so easy to shut the door, pull the curtains, and leave the great big world the poorer for our absence.

If we don’t go outside, we miss out on some magical things:

Fostering life – plants, birds, bees, butterflies, and even the occasional groundhog or skunk.

Finding beauty in every season – fog rolling in, planets and stars crossing the sky, snow on tree branches, jellyfish and hermit crabs in the water where we stand.

Finding our place – we aren’t the center of the world, but we are a wonderful part of it. The entire universe was changed when we entered it.

Seeing the handiwork of God, and the holy ground that Jesus walked.

This is the day the Lord has made. Go outside and be glad for it.

2 thoughts on “The Great and Necessary Outdoors

  1. I especially love being outside before everyone else is up and about (my neighbors too) and just smell the air of the early morning and definitely hear the chorus of different birds having a wonderful time communicating to each other.
    Especially this time of year when the outdoors can easily become part of the dwelling place.

    1. It’s a wonderful gift – getting outside first thing in the morning to greet the world and have some time with the God who made it. Thanks, Robin! peace, Johnna

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