When Nature and Kids Teach Us

Nature at Fort Lewis LodgeWilliam Wordsworth encouraged us to let nature be your teacher.

Sometimes, you have to let children be your guide, too.

In “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” author Richard Louv lists the top fishing tips his then 12-year-old son offered to parents.

They seem fitting to also share here. They are, on the surface, fishing tips. But read a little closer and they really feel applicable to even more areas of life, whether you’re fishing, teaching a new skill, taking a hike, swimming…

  1. Fish with your kid.
  2. Let your kids go fishing even if you don’t want to take them.
  3. Let your kids buy tackle and supplies. That’s half the fun of fishing.
  4. If your kids are young, take them to a place where fish are easy to catch and small.
  5. Let kids fish as long as they want. Let them get obsessed.
  6. Let kids go off and do their own thing. It can be incredibly annoying and / or frustrating if there’s an adult standing over them barking orders.
  7. At least pretend to act excited when your kid catches a fish. It can quickly ruin a day of fishing if the kid feels you don’t want to be there, and he’s just dragging you down.
  8. If you know how to fish, don’t give your kid too much unsolicited advice, although it can be helpful if the kid is young.
  9. Let your kid teach you how to fish; participate in the fishing. This can be quality bonding time.
  10. Remember that fishing and spending time with family is just as, or more important, than homework.
  11. Have fun. That’s the entire point of going fishing in the first place.
  12. And whatever you do, don’t let your kid throw rocks in the water.

Important tips, for sure. After all, as Louv states, direct exposure to nature is not only good for childhood development, but also for the physical and emotional health of adults.

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