May 13, 2005

Chas suggested I enter Natureblog with the wonderful news of a new mammal-- a carnivore at that!-- discovered in Borneo. If a completely "new" mammal hides in Borneo, why not a fisher of similar size returning to Colorado?

But meanwhile another naturalist friend sent me an article by Bradford McKee in April 28 NYT that suggests we are losing interest in such things as a culture. Even Scouts, it seems, prefer video games to yucky boring nature, and as parents we have become such weenies we don't allow our kids privacy, free time, or to be alone in the woods. I was made a writer and naturalist by books and long summer hours in the New England woods-- I can't imagine a childhood without the equivalent.

McKee says: "The risk part, assuming that children do just want to wander or waste time outdoors, is perhaps never low enough for parents.

"Tom Cara, 47, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Niles, Ill., said that he and his wife, Erin, take their son, 10, and daughter, 14, on bike trips and that he and his son, in particular, go camping and fishing in the Wisconsin wilderness. But it's hard to let children roam too freely, he said, because the news media have spooked parents with reports of child abductions and murders. "We've been conditioned to live in fear," he said."

Does anyone else find this pathetic? As parents, I'm proud to say, Libby and I encouraged Jackson to roam the woods and fields in New Mexico and Montana. He turned out to be a scholar, a river guide, and a conservationist. We need more like him. Who else will find, record, study, and save the foxes and fishers?

1 comment:

Lené Gary said...

There is hope--at least a little. Even if these children are raised without an understanding, they may still come around as adults.

I was a suburban raised child from Houston, Texas, who much preferred the mall over trees. While I wish I had a childhood in which I could remember a place less generic than strip malls, I have found that place as an adult.

The shift you speak of in parenting styles today definitely gives us reason to be concerned. I just wanted you to know that there are a few of us out there that grew into it rather than up with it.

I really enjoy reading your blog.