Sunday, 5 May 2013

Parents - leave those kids alone!

As I parked the car on the drive a few minutes ago, two sheep and a lamb walked nonchalantly past the car and down the drive. X box the hen, who as usual had flown the Coop, was scratching in the grass oblivious to them and ran over to me as I got out of the car hoping it was time for tea.

You never know what you are going to see in the garden. We've had a deer, a pheasant, even a herd of cows!Today for example ,as I was taking compost from the bin , I looked up to see a robin, no more than 2 feet away perched on the rim of the bin watching me, He had a fly in his beak and was obviously not in the least bit frightened. I watched him for a few minutes then got up slowly and he flew down into the bin and tackled a centipede I'd dug up. He continued to come back and forth most of the afternoon as I planted up my planter with pansies and violas.

Planter made from Fish crate found on beach

It saddens me to read that only 10% of children now  have free access to outside space. I take it for granted when my daughter has spent the weekend running and playing around her friend's farm as she was today. My sixteen year old son on the other hand  spent the  afternoon  walking in the countryside with his friend as they are taking part in the Keswick to Barrow walk next week.. Even my autistic son has popped backwards and forwards from his friend's house to ours setting up a pc game for him.

When the children were younger we would often sit by the village beck with a picnic and play in the water .We have eaten fish and chips on the fell-side watching the sun set and walked on the estuary looking for shells. There is no lack of fresh air and outside space and my twelve year old daughter has been cycling her mountain bike round the country lanes this past week.

Village beck

The children have learned so much from being out doors - how compost is made. How a hen cleans itself in a dust bath, where pheasants lay their eggs, how lambs are born - it's never ending. They know where their food comes from,how dependent the farmers are on the weather for their harvest and well being of their lambs and being allowed to roam free and experiment has not only enabled them to grow academically but has also given them the confidence to be independent.

I saw this article this morning - it confirms what I've discovered ,You don't have to 'manufacture; things for your children to do, in fact the more you 'manage your children the less able they are to make independent decisions for themselves.

Whilst you may not be lucky enough to live in the countryside, finding a small plot to grow things together, securing an allotment, visiting the park to look for bugs, star gazing, cooking from scratch after visiting a farmers market or playing in a band together can all create 'freedom'. Freedom not to conform to the way society seems to be going. Freedom not to keep up with the Jones' and freedom to follow your heart. I've discovered your children will be healthier, happier , more mature and independent and I can thoroughly recommend it!

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