I don't know if it was a coincidence, but I had just completed reading a section of Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. This particular section of the book eloquently and non-judgmentally focused on the difficulty children have finding spaces in which to play and be creative. Then, BAM!...there it was the very next day in the New York Times... an article entitled, "Build a Wiffle Ball Field and Lawyers Will Come." This article illustrates the perfect case and point about how we, as adults, don't understand why children no longer play outside like we did, yet we continue to place boundries and parameters on them that did not exist for us as children. One of the very last paragraphs in the article is reason enough for every parent, teacher and teenager to read Richard Louv's book: The regular players, mostly high school boys but including Tara Currivan, 15 (who swings a mean bat and brings lemonade to the field), and Scott Atkinson, 13, seem a little befuddled by the whole thing. “They think we’re a cult,” said Jeff Currivan, 17. “People think we should be home playing ‘Grand Theft Auto.’ ”
Here's the link to the article which ran on Thursday, July 10, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/nyregion/10towns.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Building%20a%20Field%20of%20Dreams&st=cse&oref=slogin
Whiffle ball is close to my heart. We had whiffle ball tournaments as kids. Never had a green monster but if you the ball in the drainiage ditch you were out. I feel strongly to a connection to outside(nature) and humans. we built shelters to stay out of inclement weather and a safe place to sleep from predators. Now it seems we have lost the connection with nature by living in big cities and big housing projects. I was taught to respect nature, experience it and and to treat it as you would want to be treated. I managed to pass it on to my children and I plan to teach my grandchildren. If I had the chance to teach a science class in any age grou(including the adults that complained in the article)one of my homework assignments would be to go outside your door just before darkness begins to turn light and listed to the world come alive. You can't help but be moved at the wonder of it. The wonder of nature kept me out of trouble growing up and inspired me to learn all I could about it.
Bingo! Nature has so much to teach us and it's fabulous that you are passing down your experiences to your children and grandchildren. If we break that cycle, who will pick it up? I love hearing the stories about made-up rules for outdoor games. We all did it, and hopefully will continue teaching kids to play creatively. Kudos to you, Bubba!
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