Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pass the Wonder

One of the best things we can do for the young people (children, grandchildren, friends etc.) in our life is to model our love of nature, our sense of wonder of the things of creation for them. Take them outdoors to the fresh air and get excited about what you find there. Use all your senses, and get down on your knees if you can and look at everything. If you are excited, the kids won't be able to help it, they will want to see what you are looking at. They may even want to touch it, if you are. Take drawing paper, pencils, even watercolors, or a camera and bring home images to remember. The recording of images will help you see more, and learn more.

Do this often and a change will start to come over your kids. They will start seeing things that they always overlooked before. They won't be able to help themselves, and will start wanting to learn more about what they are looking at. Get some guide books to nature in your area, and sit and look through them. Get excited when you find a page that tells about what you saw when you were out. Take the books out with you and use them to look up the names of what you are looking at. When you do that, it is like gaining a new friend, you will know who that particular wildflower is when you walk by. It really is so much fun.

It is a challenge to get couch potatoes, computer crazies, TV addicts, and book worms to get moving, but not impossible. There may be some reluctance at first, some whining, and complaining, but don't let that distract you for a moment. Smile and have fun. The first time out might not be as great as you had hoped, but don't let them drag you down. Take them outside again as soon as you can. You might even make a time for a walk in nature every week.

Let the kids try out your camera. Remember, it is technology. Technology appeals to many young people. A zoom lens is fascinating to many kids. Ooo and ahh over their photos, no matter what they look like. It is like giving a kid a new eye with which to look at the world. It might not be long before you find them absorbed in the moment, focused on one small speck of wonder in the middle of a field of wildflowers.
So what was my bookworm photographing? (Yes, she did bring a book and had her nose in it part of the time when we were walking up the trail. Yes, there was a bit of whining about something, but how could she stay like that with things like wildflowers to look at? Nature has it's powers that even a mother doesn't have.) The big meadow of flowers had caught her attention. She was zoomed in on Glacier Lilies, Erythronium grandiflorum, growing in a profusion of yellow on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, Washington.
They are very similar to the white flowered avalanche lily, Erythronium montanum, which grows in the same habitat. You can find them in alpine and subalpine areas in the middle of summer, but much earlier in spring in the Columbia Gorge, on the border of Oregon and Washington. They grow between 6 and 12 inches tall.

1 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

TeacherBritt said...

Great post and great pictures... you inspired me not to be the solo photographer, but let the kids have turns taking pictures as well!

Be Blessed,