If you haven’t visited the Art of Manliness website yet, I would encourage you to do so. The site is jam-packed with articles relating to the positive aspects of traditional “manliness”. Many of those articles (unsurprisingly) have a focus on nature and being outdoors.
A recent post titled “How to Get Your Kids to Love Nature” really hits home on the themes and positive aspects of being outdoors that Pay It Forward Now is promoting.
Really, the effects of nature are such an enormous boon to physical, emotional, and mental health that were they offered in the form of a pill, people would be rushing out to buy it for themselves, and their children, even if it was exorbitantly priced. And nature is free!
In the post, Brett McKay, publisher of Art of Manliness, points out the “Nature Connection Pyramid” promoted by Kenny Ballentine of the Nature Kids Institute. Kenny likens the benefits of the outdoors and how much time in nature you need to the “food pyramid”. We can all incorporate small encounters with nature into our everyday lives; larger and more extensive encounters will be restricted due to the time and monetary resources needed to accomplish them.
Even though the “daily” nature encounters may seem relatively trivial compared to multi-day excursions into the “wilderness”, they constantly instill a love of nature in kids that will stay with them through their adult years. In the same way that toddlers are often more entertained by the box their Christmas gift came in than the gift itself, children are also often more intrigued by the nature right in their back yard than hiking the Appalachian Trail, for example. What adults have been exposed to for decades is completely new, novel and fascinating to children seeing it for the first time.
This circles back to another topic we will be exploring in future articles on Pay It Forward Now, “micro adventures” (creating an “adventure” in your own “back yard”). We often overlook the potential for adventure and discovery in the outdoors that it is literally right in our back yard. Everyone, regardless of available time or finances, can go on a micro adventure and explore the natural world. In the coming months, Pay It Forward Now will be sponsoring events based on the concept of the micro adventure.
Brett’s post also provides an extensive list of ideas for the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly portions of the “nature pyramid”. Many of these suggestions involve nothing more than encouraging your child to explore the back yard or nearby parks and don’t require extensive planning or financial resources. Pay It Forward Now also sponsors events that are a great way to introduce your child to nature such as:
So, “Let’s Get Going!”