“We call them faerie. We don’t believe in them. Our loss.” ~Charles de Lin
I didn’t believe in fairies when I was a child. I didn’t have to. I was outside in Nature all the time. By today’s standards, I had a pretty boring childhood. I was so incredibly lucky. Because my parents didn’t program my days at all and there weren’t a whole lot of kids my age around to play with, well, I did what little kids did back in the 70s. I rode my bike around endlessly, explored the local woods by myself and laid around in the backyard looking at the clouds for hours. We even lived briefly on a funny little lake and my folks would let me take our rickety row boat out by myself. I’d row around, looking at the dragonflies in the reeds and catch shiny bluegills with an old fishing pole. I’d always throw them back.
Well, my children have had very different childhoods. All of our children do, mostly. And
that is where the fairies come in. Fairies, to me, are the very spirit of Nature itself. Humans personify Nature to understand it and give it more of a personal meaning. Well, we need more interest and understanding of Nature and more of a personal relationship with it too, for our own well-being and for the good of the Earth we live on. Every time I turn around, there is more Nature plowed down and more “progress” on the way, generally in the form of big box stores and subdivisions. Do they still call them subdivisions?
So please, send your child outside before they end up with the disease Richard Louv calls “nature-deficit disorder” in his book Last Child Left in the Woods. In my experience as a Waldorf teacher, children are so much happier when they’ve spent time outside, no matter the weather. In fact, it is proven that spending green time outside reduces symptoms of ADHD, illness, and depression significantly more than doing the exact same activities inside across a wide range of settings.
Is it fairy exposure? Maybe. Or is it just Nature itself, working the magic.
A few of Louv’s suggestions in his great follow-up book, Vitamin N, The Essential Guide to Living a Nature-Rich Life are pretty easy to do and might make your parenting life easier too. Louv has written a whole book about it. I’ve borrowed a few of his idea for you here:
- Meet up with other families at a friendly park. Simple as that. The kids can run around and play under the trees and you let them. If there is a hiking trail then you can all go – send the older kids out front as scouts. Let the littles take their time. If the groups get too far apart and your worried, send one parent off to follow the big kids.
- Hold a holiday or a family celebration outside. Why not meet at a park or a picnic shelter like the family in the Jemi Stories did instead of in the house or apartment? Even if your party gets rained out, there could be something magical that happens.
- Plan a nature adventure when you travel for a holiday. Whenever my family goes to visit my mother for Thanksgiving, we get up and take a long hike in a nearby celery bog before the cooking begins. As my kids get older, these little rituals become more important to them.
Spending time in Nature is also relaxing and we all know we need more of that. So let your children frolick and play in the great green diamond that is the natural world we live in. And if they meet a fairy, all the better, right?
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity for the human spirit.”~Edward Abbey
Oh, and happy International Fairy Day, my friends.