Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Knowing Green

A "green hour" with the Conscious Shopper

Today, I took my boys to the park after school, and my two oldest sat on a park bench and played with their Pokemon cards.

Sometimes I wonder if I've shortchanged my boys by choosing to live in the city.

My oldest, the leader of the pack, is seven and lived in apartments for six of those years. I did my best to introduce him to nature, but until we moved to this house with a backyard, he didn't have many opportunities to explore on his own terms.

On the days when I have to coerce him outside, on the days when he spends a beautiful spring afternoon on a park bench playing with Pokemon cards, I wonder, "Did I miss the window?"

My youngest is three and has spent half of his life in this house with a backyard. He's the first out the door every day and the last back in. Today at the playground, he started with the slide, moved on to the digging spot, and then spent the rest of our green hour watching inchworms, climbing rocks, and rolling in the grass.

It's something I think about a lot. Is their reaction to the outdoors just a difference in their personalities? Or is it the result of their differing life experiences? There are definite green advantages to urban living, but does it come at a cost?

And yet even my oldest exclaimed on the walk back from the park, "Look at these beautiful flowers, Mom. These are my favorite. They smell like grape juice."

Perhaps there's hope for us city folk after all.


Unrelated sidenote: On my cherry-picking science post, a few people expressed interest in hearing more about my son's elimination diet, which we started based on a theory that eliminating certain foods can improve behavior problems. I wrote up a whole post about it, but then decided that it wasn't something I was comfortable sharing at the Booth (it felt a little too personal to share with such a broad audience). So for those of you who are interested - the short answer is that it didn't work for us. If you are interested in the longer answer, I'm happy to share it by email (consciousshopperblog [at] gmail [dot] com).


Daisy said...

I understand your concerns about living in apartments. I give you credit for taking your kids outside, no matter what they do there. Even if he's gazing through his Pokemon cards, your son will smell the fresh air and feel the sunshine.

Green Bean said...

I agree with Daisy. I also have to say that I think it is the kids and their personalities. We've always had a backyard during their lifetimes and they go outside or not depending on mood and such. We moved to a bigger lot to encourage them to go out more but it doesn't necessarily work that way. So, I sometimes satisfy myself with just hanging out outside, playing a game on the grass.

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

My sister always said she had on indoor fine-motor boy and one outdoor gross-motor boy, but they've both grown into outdoor boys. I saw a mom and son at the park on their digital devices last week. Why on earth would you come to the park to play video games on your Smart Phone? I found it disturbing. But then, my kids are young. This is how I can afford to be so judgmental. At any rate, this post inspires me to get my kids in the backyard and in nature more. My 2 year old would live outside if she could. I should indulge her more often.


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