One of the pleasures of having our grandchildren over is to watch them play in our tree house and dig around in our back yard for earth worms, slugs, centipedes, and other wild creatures. I’m delighted to see their fascination with nature in light of the fact that most of today's children spend twice as much time indoors as their parents did, missing out on the simple pleasures and lasting health benefits of daily outdoor activity.
I know I harp on this a lot, that today's young spend an average of only four to seven minutes outside each day and more than seven hours in front of electronic media, but there’s little doubt that this kind of sedentary lifestyle is contributing to childhood obesity and depression, as well as limiting children's creativity, concentration and social skills. That makes me sad.
When I was growing up, we had little choice about being outdoors, in that all hands were needed on our family farm to help with daily chores and with the growing, harvesting and preserving food for a large family. But all of that helped make us more productive persons, and I’m glad to see that our local three grandkids recently got two laying hens to take care of in their back yard and to offer them some hands on experience in taking care of chickens and to appreciate where some of their food comes from.
The National Wildlife Federation’s “Be Out There” initiative promotes the following commitment for children and their parents: "I pledge to spend time outdoors every day for the health and happiness of the kids in my life."