Episode 25 | Returning to Nature



Last summer, Todd and Carrie Minturn took their two young sons on the road trip of a lifetime. They visited twelve National Parks and National Monuments, camped, hiked, collected ranger badges, and logged thousands of miles of adventures. On this trip, Todd retraced the path of a trip that he took with his parents when he was six. Revisiting these wild spaces with his children was an invitation to reconnect with his own childlike sense of wonder and innocence.

In our conversation, Todd and I talked about the importance of nature and the power that nature has to draw us into our true selves. Todd reflects on what nature has taught him about fatherhood and what he hopes to instill in his boys by making sure they have lots of time exploring wild places.

Our conversation reminded me of a book that I read several years ago, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.  The author describes nature as an essential ingredient for healthy child development. It is a beautifully written, well-researched book, perhaps best summarized by these words:

Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of senses. Given a chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it in the creek, and turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of that confusion. Nature can frighten a child, too, and this fright serves a purpose.  In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace.

Enjoy this timely reflection about the deeper process that may be happening on that family camping vacation.



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