Customer Review

144 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its pure common sense - get kids out of the house, get them moving and have them see the REAL world, December 13, 2005
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This review is from: Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (Hardcover)
My "wake up call" came when my friend from the city brought her toddler to my home and the little girl cried in terror when her mother tried to get her to put her bare feet on the lawn, a lawn that was free of anything dangerous. We don't have a dog so there weren't even any "droppings" to worry about.

A baby who was scared to touch ground? Her mother admitted that her offspring had never felt grass because her mother feared it might be too full of "germs". I urged her to at least let her daughter smell a handful of freshly picked clover but she looked at me as though I were crazy.

I then told her of summers spent barefoot, of exploring creeks and finding crayfish and even some snakes, of coming across a newborn fawn in the woods, etc.

That's when I realized that there could be a whole generation of children losing touch with the natural world around them and I started paying attention to the kids and teens in our neighborhood. Sure enough, very few of them were climbing trees, exploring creeks, walking through the nearby woods. Very few of them built forts or learned the joy of wading in a cold stream or simply lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds, listening to the birds or trying to identify the different types of trees in the neighborhood. All of these things were common activities for me as a child (admittedly, during a time when tv channels were limited to 3 or 4 and there weren't video games or cellphones).

If there is ONE POINT this book makes, it is that parents need to make an effort to help their children discover nature. Whether it is because parents are too busy or too fearful to let their children discover nature or whether kids have too many electronic devices to distract them and which prevent them from automatically turning to the pleasures of the outside world, the result is that children spend more and more time indoors and less time being active.

Is it any wonder that there is an epidemic of childhood obesity? I'm not naive enough to suggest that spending time outside will cure obesity but I DO believe that it might encourage children to at least contemplate the idea of running through a grassy field, climbing a tree (carefully and respectfully) or simply chasing a butterfly through a meadow, trying to see where it goes.

Most of all, this book might help both parents and children realize that nature can be as mysterious, powerful and awesome as any video game or television show (I'd say even MORE so). If our children, our future generations, are going to learn to care about the environment and preserving the wonders that are out there, it is up to parents, teachers and other role models in their lives to foster that appreciation...and, hopefully, that passion...early on.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 13, 2008 3:25:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 13, 2008 3:27:33 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Aug 30, 2010 10:14:41 PM PDT
K. Mars says:
The last paragraph is a good point about why learning about nature is important.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 10:15:11 AM PDT
S. Grant says:
There will always be people who are nature phobic. Especially women but i have seen a grown man jump out of a moving car because of a MOTH! Observation is a large part of interaction with nature. Seeing what is around you requires not being lost in thoughts. Perhaps it has more to do with good survival instincts. Living on the west coast where surfers watch the wave patterns before paddling out shows clearly some kids are totally aware of nature when it interests them personally. Looking at what insects and birds & microorganisms are up to may or may not interest artists or gardeners. Again how much is it to their advantage somehow to observe? In the urban landscape where people feel threatened by everything & stayed glued to computer screens the real problem is really human over population destroying nature mostly by not even knowing it is there. In the desert everything has a protection, poison, spikes etc but many places are almost pest free yet people feel they are in deadly peril. If it is tree pollen do they experiment with any of thousands of things that help or with no natural curiosity at all do they simply destroy the trees? Using our innate human intelligence is more a rare gift than a given. The terror lingers in people about everything natural on some subliminal level. Very likely gleaned from our parents in early childhood and indelible in the constructed adult person. The beauty and relaxation element of our top of the food chain position does enable an ability to relax and enjoy nature like the king of beasts we are but without parents taking at least a small part of their lives and helping children to see beauty, hear beautiful music (not just clatter & noise) and appreciate observing simply for its own sake without plot lines or ultimate good/evil end-times scenarios many are doomed to lives totally without experiences that hone our observation abilities. Other aspects such as also their sense of freedoms in their own bodies and new self awareness is also short changed. And nature we will continue to destroy. Overpopulating in the billions ensures that. Even pathogens evolve enough not to overpopulate and kill off their hosts!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 1:56:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2011 1:57:37 PM PDT
Kcorn says:
S. Grant- I am so glad you took the time to post in such detail.I would add, though that my parents did not give me a terror of natural things gleaned from them in early childhood. They taught me to observe and respect nature, perhaps because they grew up in the country and were concerned about how people could blindly destroy natural if they didn't take the time to think through the consequences of their actions. This may be a rare thing for parents to do....not sure.
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