My heart was thumping like a heard of galloping horses as I awaited the results of my oldest s' MRI scan. AB was rushed to the hospital as he suffered excruciating pain and had restricted movement around his neck and head. The doctors ran many tests to investigate the underlying cause of the pain and to conclude what events lead to this. Upon examining the medical reports and hearing my boys’ story they arrived at a diagnosis that he suffers a condition called ‘strain’. Phew, that’s a relief! Not as serious as one would imagine it to be. Watching a screen in an unsuitable position for extended periods caused this. Prior to this incident AB was enjoying his playtime indulging in some Xbox extravaganza at our neighbors home with his buddy’s. I had reasoned with him that the great outdoors had much adventure to offer than plugging into a fantasy world indoors. He convinced me saying he would play outdoors 4 days a week and 3 days he would spend time gaming indoors. It seemed like a reasonable proposition, so I agreed. In hindsight I wish I had not. This incident left me turning back pages in my memory book. It brought back spirited memories of my childhood. When I was AB’s age I was rushed to the doctors after I fell off a guava tree in my grandmas home. It was painful, but at least I re-lived ‘Mowgli’ from ‘Jungle book’ and enjoyed a few bites of ripe organic goodness before my fall. This one little incident taught me 2 valuable life lessons: how to measure risks and how to take responsibility of myself. Looking back, I cannot recall one amazing memory of watching the little TV I got to watch as a child. But I hold close an array of fond memories of exploring the wild and running barefoot on my granddad’s 10 acres of rustic landscape.
Growing up I was let loose to enjoy free-unstructured play. I eagerly waited for the holiday seasons to head to my grandparents home where I could build dollhouses with thatched coconut leaves and twigs. I even remember building a hideaway hut for myself. I enjoyed trawling the wild and scouring them looking for cashew fruits and fallen mangoes. I have a particular fond memory of trying my hand at milking a cow and getting kicked by it at the same time. My favorite part of the great outdoors was at dusk where the children got to chase the hens, ducks and lamb back to its coop and barns. There were ponds, woods, muddy patches and open spaces. The environment was challenging and inspiring and I created my own adventure. I learned problem solving, managing resources, flexibility and teamwork. I have learned to love nature and to survive and be creative. I am dreaming that my children will experience this to some extend and all this would not just be a fairy tale from yester years.
With the invasion of technology sadly, children’s contact with nature is declining and they are on a road to transforming to what I would term ‘Digital zombies’. I agree we cannot bring back the vast countryside experience to our urban kids. But there is always room to teach them appreciation for nature, creation and the creator.
Usher your little treasures into an experience of enjoying the brilliance of God’s paint over the sunset. Engage in chasing the bright visions of spectacular prints in every unique butterfly. Experience the feeling of God’s rest as you remove your shoes along with the tiny feet folks and sink your toes in the lush green grass. Encourage the younglings to close their eyes and enjoy the kiss of a soft breeze, which resonates with the creator’s peace. Connect with your tiny sparks as you help them perceive the wonder of nature which points to a creative genius. Help your kids create memories as they live a life bursting with flavor.