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Wild Nature Play: A Mission, statement

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

There are many duties and opinions involved with raising a child. It can be daunting at times and doubts abound as to whether or not we are “doing it right.” What was true and necessary when our grandparents were youth was not always relevant or accurate for raising their own children. Rules, customs, and considerations shift through generations and parents are right to be skeptical about what current philosophies are adopted or omitted. Certain fundamentals however, do remain.

Today we raise children in a landscape very different to any other the world has known. There is so much for which to be thankful and in many respects it is a beautiful time to be alive. However, I choose to be skeptical about the culture of modern child-rearing and that which is considered enrichment. Particularly I am skeptical that we urge children to grow up too fast without ample opportunity for unstructured play which develops creativity, resilience, and a healthy body. We turn our homes into pressure chambers for growth and expect results in rapid progression. Playgrounds are overly regulated and the wild places are forbidden. Precautions in the name of safety are making our children less safe and capable. Through Wild Nature Play I hope to examine modern assumptions about what youth need and why there was a shift away from free outdoor play so integral to human development.

There are no shortcuts to raising children. I am in my “rookie years,” as a father and am looking forward to the long journey of raising my child(ren). I do however have much experience as a professional member of the “village.” If it still does take a village to raise a child, then I am working to be an inquisitive and active participant. Wild Nature Play is for anyone who feels there are core tenets of humanness that have been dropped from the modern culture of parenting and education. I hope to reexamine our assumptions of what youth need and how we communicate our lessons. This matters of course because what we teach and value today is what will be passed on to future generations.

- Paul

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