Lessons Parents Can Learn By Exploring Nature With Children
There truly is nothing on Earth that can compare to the beauty of nature. Adults all over the world travel hundreds of miles just to marvel at its magnificence. Now imagine experiencing all of this for the first time. No prior knowledge of what to expect. No expectations or judgements. Just pure, undiluted, innocent joy. That is how children see the world, and boy can we learn a lot from them!
Learning To Be Present
One of the main lessons I have learnt whilst exploring nature with our children is to be present. In this world full of technology, demands and future goals, it can be hard as an adult to take a step back, put everything aside and just be.
For children this mode of present living comes naturally. They go about their daily lives living one moment to the next. Blissfully unaware of the future or what it has in store, all that matters is the current moment. It truly is a beautiful way to live.
When you next venture out into nature, take a moment to admire how your child wanders care free with no intention, no end goal in site. They simply take every moment in. Every sight, every sound. They aren’t focused on how far they have left to go, or what time it is. Time is irrelevant and instead, all that matters is the present. A lesson we can definitely learn!
Over the past two years, I have focused more and more on simply being whilst on our adventures. Yes of course I want to take those photos to preserve the precious memories. But now, I shut out the noise of every day life. Social media, work and daily stresses are left at the gate. Our time in nature is our time to reconnect to the Earth, to recharge and most importantly, spending time being present with our girls as they discover the world around them.
Appreciate The Little Things
So often in life we forget to appreciate the little things. We focus on the end goal. That giant carrot we have been chasing and working towards. Yet, whilst pursuing our dreams we forget to marvel at the truly wonderful things right in front of our eyes! Those little things that normally, you wouldn’t take any notice of. Our children, as wonderfully innocent as they are, take in everything.
Be it a tiny colourful flower in the woods, to the sound of the birds singing in the morning sun, our children take it all in. They find wonder in even the smallest things. How bark feels against their skin. How the leaves crunch underfoot. Yet somehow on our journey to adulthood we forget to do this. We forget to notice the little things, and as a result miss out on some of the most beautiful things in life.
Prior to motherhood, I would take a walk in the woods, appreciate the general beauty and simply enjoy the experience. Now, however, I stop to admire the small delicate flowers, or the dense blanket of moss that carpets the ground. We listen to the birds singing and take time to notice what types of trees surround us. I have stopped seeing nature as a large canvas, and instead spend the time discovering all of its intricacies with my girls. It truly is amazing how much more colour enters your world when you stop looking and start seeing.
Take A Slower Pace To Life
Rush. Rush. Rush. As an adult, it seems like all we do is try and make it through the day from one task to the next. Constantly trying to get things done as quick and efficiently as possible. Children are the complete opposite. Time means nothing to them. They live at their own pace.
This is, perhaps, one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt whilst exploring nature with the girls. I have learnt to let go of my adult addiction to time and schedule. To let go of time and to enjoy the moment.
I have often seen frustrated parents hurrying their children along, determined to finish the walk at their own pace within an ‘acceptable’ time frame. These frustrated parents are quite often followed by angry, equally frustrated children, who simply just want to enjoy nature at their own pace.
When out on an adventure, we forget time. Time has no influence. If the girls want to run through the woods so be it. If they want to marvel at every stick they find and it takes us a couple of hours to walk a mile, that’s just fine. What matters is the time spent together, however long, or short that its. We have no agenda. The only focus is to simply be present and enjoy nature.
This approach, I have found, certainly means less stress on adventures. We aren’t rushing to get from point A to point B. We are just taking the day as it comes. The girls are free to explore at their own pace and to investigate what ever spikes their interest. They get freedom and we actually have time to relax! It’s a win win!
These lessons may seem simple and common sense, but you will be amazed at how many of us forget them! We get caught up in our adult lives and forget to actually live. Yet by observing our children out in nature, we are blessed with the opportunity to learn these valuable lessons. We can leave the hustle and bustle behind. We can adopt a more natural lifestyle where we live for the moment and not just for the future.
Personally, I feel truly blessed that I have been able to experience this so early in life. When I found out I was pregnant with Aria at 24 (Read how we found out here) I had no idea just how pivotal this moment in my life would be. How everything would change in such drastic ways and I would be able to learn such profound lessons.
By taking time to watch our children, how they interact with the natural world around them, we can learn things we had long forgotten. We too can return to the mindset of a care free child and rediscover all of the beauty and wonder nature holds for us!
What have your children taught you? Have you too discovered a better way of living? Comment below!