I remember hearing this phrase a few years ago when Last Child in the Woods
came out. I think many people are skeptical about whether Nature Deficit Disorder is real, and I imagine most people hear the term and laugh. However, in today’s world, there is a change happening in regard to kids and nature. More and more kids are growing up disconnected from the natural world, and that is a shame.
My kids are lucky though. We live on a nature preserve in a nice neighborhood. The view out our windows is wonderful, and outside our door are many walking trails. There are trees, flowers, birds, insects, and wild animals all around us. We are out in it everyday, and I am so grateful for that.
I have noticed in our neighborhood though a very strange phenomenon. The grassy fields outside our door are often empty, the trees are never climbed, and the voices of children are often unheard. I see the kids walk home from school, and then I hardly see or hear them until the next day when they are again pushing their heavy book bags back to school. In the summer I hear and see even fewer children, as they are no longer walking to school. Where are all the kids? Why aren’t they outside enjoying this wonderful nature paradise.
I know the answers to that question, and it makes me sad. My kids enjoy modern life. They love their video games, the computer, and their iPods, and I am happy for them to have all those gadgets, but I know it is my job to balance that out for them. They, and I, are much happier individuals because of the balance, because of our contact with the natural world. I hope we, as humans, never get too far from that truth.