April 23, 2014: Lead Your Children to the Wonder of Nature: Create a New Steward of Creation

~by Susi Pittman

(This article is directed towards children in their early development and through their elementary education years)

This one subject matter begins the process of shaping the conscience in a child for valuing “life.” I have always believed this; that God’s glory and reflection are powerfully reflected into the impressionable minds of young children because they have nothing blocking the experience. Everything is new!

In today’s young generation the lack of consideration not only for others but, for the least of creation could not be evidenced more. Here in America it is all about materialism…social status in the accumulation of “things.”

I believe in taking these young hearts and minds out into nature and sharing the beauty of life, death and rebirth, of growing and harvesting, of learning the natural rhythms that God placed into all creation and how we learn to grow in cooperation with those rhythms in our own lives.

I do not believe in taking children and placing the weight of the world upon their shoulders regarding the environment, climate change and ecology. We need not burden them with all the “save the world” alliances and concerns. So much of that can have a negative effect on a child’s mind, leaving nightmarish images that run counter-productive to future positive impacts from more age appropriate interactions with nature. If they are growing first in the wonder and appreciation of their natural surroundings, those concerns will be embraced with time at the age appropriate time. A good foundation of appreciation and education will do so much more for balanced reasoning in the future.

Schools, television, social media and text books all herald the chosen concerned areas that they wish children to be concerned about when it comes to the environment. Save the rainforest, bake sales for the whales, car washes for the seals. Children are getting connected electronically with a global agenda and don’t have a clue about the ant colony in their back yard, or the baby birds learning to fly in their out their own back doors. They must be introduced to the sanctuary of creation that is close and pertinent to their own lives…something tangible and present in their realm of existence.

I have three grandchildren who like all 4, 5 and 6-year-olds have the most inquisitive minds when we are outdoors. My joy is sharing the outdoors with them. The bugs, birds, deer, raccoons, garden, clouds, grass, tree climbing, picking wild flowers, snakes, grasshoppers, chasing butterflies, watching the hummingbirds, catching raindrops on their tongues, (not to mention the 19 rescued pets we share our lives with) I could go on and on. All of these activities connect them with the joy and beauty of the back yard world around them.

Through that connection, I have answered their deepest questions and with their parents have inspired them to embrace this world with care. Impressing upon them that all they see IS important and part of our extended family here on earth. It is amazing to watch them enjoy that aspect of living, rather than being mired down in a “save issue” that they are in no way ready to understand. That can be saved when they are moving into a more socially active world after the age of eleven or twelve. They bond with their surroundings, embrace it and feel comfortable in it. They appreciate it.

By embracing the smallest living things in creation, they are elevated even at their ages to understand the importance of human life in regards to all creation. Their love of nature and ability to understand somewhat the natural laws God has placed upon creation, has led them without question to be pro-life without having to be taught. It falls upon their hearts naturally. They embrace with enthusiastic and sincere love, friends, family and creation, especially little babies.

I would ask parents to please “take the time” to make the time to initiate your young children into the natural environment in your yard and community. The important element…TIME. There is too much impatience being pushed upon our children to learn, to do, to hurry up and grasp whatever it is to be grasped, that they don’t have the option of knowing that “resting in the now” and embracing the moment is just as important to their well-being.

When a child is born, it is always a time of celebration as we look upon another citizen for Heaven. Parents and grandparents, please celebrate the sanctuary of creation and the magnificent reflections of the Creator with your children and give the world a new steward of creation founded with love and appreciation for our good and great God!

Susi Pittman is founder of CatholicStewardsofCreation.com and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Council of Women in Jacksonville, Florida; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine;a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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