Connecting to the Great Outdoors

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Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.”  ~Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth

If you are a baby boomer, no doubt you learned to read from the Dick and Jane series. For forty years (1930s – 1970s) these books were used by elementary school teachers around the world to teach children the art of reading.

dick and jane jumping ropeDid you ever notice how the Dick and Jane series had so many pictures of children engaged in outdoors activities? The books typically featured images of kids walking the dog, playing hopscotch on the sidewalk, planting flowers, pulling wagons, playing ball, lying in a hammock under the shade tree day-dreaming, and flying kites outdoors.

Miss Zerna Sharp, known as the “Mother of Dick and Jane” had great insight in the creation of the series because she felt that students would enjoy learning to read and find it much easier if they identified with the children shown in the illustrations. If she were alive today to redo the series to make the stories more relatable for this generation of children, she’d probably be horrified to realize what would the illustrations would look like. Rather than publishing pictures of fit children playing outdoors, I suppose we’d see images of  children engaged in all things digital and figure drawings of children with physiques that look very different than those of the children from the 1930s – 1970s. dick and jane use the force

We are living in a very visual age. With the power of digital marketing perhaps we need to stir children’s interests and entice them into wanting to experience the great adventure of life called the “great outdoors.” Personally, I think our whole society would benefit by becoming more aware of our connection to mother nature and all that she has to offer.  And it may even save us some trips to the doctor!

Those are my independent thoughts, words and views for today. See you tomorrow on Have a great day, and remember to get outdoors for some fresh air! It’s good for fulfilling the mind, body and spirit.

Balance Meant the See Saw

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The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it. ~ Anonymous

It was a different world when I was a kid and so were the childhood stresses and routines.  When I was growing up childhood stress was about whether or not we remembered to bring our gym uniforms home to have them washed, starched and ironed to perfection before putting them back on again. Too many demerits for forgetting affected your grade. If you are a baby boomer, you’ll  relate to that.

Life wasn’t quite as frantic for children as it is today, running from activity to activity. When the school bell rang at 3:10 pm, it was time to go play outside with neighborhood children. Only if it rained, were  you allowed to be indoors to watch an hour of TV, perhaps “Father’s Knows Best.  You knew from routine that when dad came home from work you’d hear your mother shout out “Time for Dinner.”  It was time to gather around the family table. If there was an empty chair the family felt all broken up.

With certainty, Easter meant going to church, and getting all dressed up with white gloves, shiny white or black patent leather “mary jane’s” with a little pocketbook to match. There were rituals that went with every holiday. And  you knew without a doubt that mom’s card club or bowling team met every Thursday afternoon at 1 o’clock sharp.

Back then, life was more certain and families were more intact. see saw 2When raising children in the 1950s and 1960s, there was no need to read books about the mind, body and spirit connection because in my opinion, life was already lived in accordance with more wholesome core values. Balance was what you talked about in connection with the see-saw, not in counseling sessions trying to bring harmony back to an entire family.

Here is a link to an article by Jennifer Buckett that speaks to the issue of past and present values and morals. I don’t necessarily agree with every charge in this article, but overall Buckett makes some good points.

I’d like to hear from our readers. Do you agree that life was lived more in balance in the 1950s and 1960s? What are your thoughts on our societal changes? Are they for the better or worse in raising families?

Come on back tomorrow to the space where independent words, thoughts and views are all part of the business. This blog brought to you by