Children in todays world suffer tremendously from what Richard Louv termed “Nature Deficit Disorder”. Modern societies have chosen convenience and isolation over connection. To repair our culture we have to raise our children with deep nature connection.
I recently spent a week in the Ozarks with Jon Young and Mark Morey learning the Art of Mentoring. What I realized was something deep and profound. To repair our culture we simply have to go back to nature and follow the ways of our ancestors. We learned a way of mentoring children called the Coyote Way. Asking questions instead of answers. Connecting with nature by sitting still in one spot called the sit spot. Enjoying the unanswered or embracing the mystery. Tracking animals. Learning bird language. Storytelling. Arousing curiosity and passion. Connecting deeply to ourselves, nature and others.
Since my return home a fire has been burning strong to not only learn the wilderness skills but to also mentor my children and other children in deep nature connection. Ever since I got home I have been working closely with the kids to mentor them and connect them to the deep mysteries of nature.
My 9 year old son Kiran has been going to sit spots twice a week coming back to tell his story with the rest of the family as he journals and draws one species of bird, animal or plant that we both found amazing.
Kiran has also been practicing the art of archery every day!
The other day we all decided to take a walk and go see our new neighbor Matthew English. Matt is not only a deep nature connection mentor, he is a natural craftsman, tracker, plant geek, birder, and more. The kids had the time of their lives in Matt’s new outdoor workshop. We were at Matt’s for three hours and they could not stop talking about how much they loved the experience. We made bow drills for fire making. Worked on the shave horses. Shot one of Matt’s handmade bows. Learned how to make bows from Matt. We really had a blast. To top it all off we collected wildflower bouquets and gave them away to friends.