Sunday, May 3, 2009

Are we Normal?

I like to consider my family "normal". Yes, we have our idiosyncrasies (I mean, I have them), but we lead fairly normal lives.

I have three kids, and a wife of seventeen years. We spend time together, both inside and outside. My kids help with my animals - chickens, rabbits, pigeons, dogs, cat -etc. and the kids have their own little pets. They've had parakeets, rabbits, gerbils.

In the spring and summer we walk with our kids in the evening. Sometimes the kids ride bikes, and we walk, or the kids play in the golf course pond, then catch up, and play in a tree, then catch up, etc.

The kids love to throw rocks.

But we spend time walking together.

I camp with the kids a few times in the summer and they sometimes hunt with me and the birds in the winter. Both boys are in scouts. and as you know, we spent a lot of time taking casual hikes over Easter break. The kids do well in school, and we spend time every evening dealing with homework issues.

Here they are when we went hunting with Patrick.

But just recently at school, the students went on a field trip to a local ecological preserve that covers a large portion of the Outer Banks. I've blogged about Nags Head Woods before as it was a favorite place for me to take the hawks this season.

These students didn't even know the woods were there. I was astounded. By the end of the day, we had walked about four miles studying the different ecosystems whithin the large maritime forest.

The students were exhausted. They'd never walked that far, let alone had to go up and down hills. They had never sat silently and listened to the birds or the wind in the trees. They didn't know to look under logs for salamanders, or how to identify even deer tracks.

We did the best we could to show them everything. Hopefully, they learned that the woods can be better than the video game. We didn't see much wildlife (you never do when you bring 85 loud children into the woods), but they learned a lot about ecosystems.

But all you parents, I beg you, take your kids outside. Teach them about the woods and fields around your house. Lacking that, try the vacent lot down the street. You would be amazed at what you can find there.

Just yesterday, we counted turtles spotted in a drainage ditch. We lost count around 200. Go find a ground hog hole, or fox hole.

See if you can wait silently, for something to appear.

Get out of the car and walk, or bike. Stop and smell the roses.


Anonymous said...

That's good advice. I didn't appreciate it much at the time, but my parents made sure I spent time outdoors. It took a while for me to seek it out on my own, but I do now. Your kids will appreciate the time you spend with them too, if they don't already.

Doug said...

Thanks Kristine,
It is already paying dividends. They are great, well rounded, smart kids who understand how the world works.