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Top 10 Things Nature and Parenting Have in Common
By Mark J. Stevens

Parenting and Nature are closely connected to each other. They decide who children are and who they become with time. The separation of humans and nature is an illusion. We humans have artificially distanced ourselves from nature to a certain extent - especially in our minds. But we are just as much a part of nature as the trees, birds, and rivers.

  1. Human children and nature's other offspring all need food and drink, shelter, light, air or water to breathe, and an advantageous environment. Parents and nature provide their children with these needs to assure their survival and when possible to help them keep the proper balance.

  2. Love flows through the veins of human parents and through the mommy and daddy fish that protect their eggs in rushing rivers. As nature's creatures, parents have been given the gift of love to keep our species thriving. To see nature's chemistry at work first-hand we need look no farther than in our own homes or in the nearby woods.

  3. Not only human children cry, pout, or scream when they want that extra something they shouldn't be eating too much of at the dinner table. Children of other species often do their best to aggravate their parents as well.

  4. Both children and nature contain surprising elements such as a wonderful heritage provided by intricate genes. Human parents, animals, and even plants have a great deal in common from a genetic point of view.

  5. We all have certain strategies or instincts with which we select our partners to bear our children. In doing so, we follow our noses at least as much as our relatives in the woods. Surely parents, and humans in general for that matter, are capable of making intelligent decisions that set them apart from the mostly instinctive actions in other species in nature. But we all share a common foundation.

  6. We all have a home -- whether it is a house, a hut, a cave, a meadow, a forest, or a nest -- we are all parents and/or children and we are all part of nature. However much they travel in their minds and across continents, children (and adults) remain deeply rooted in their parents and in the Earth.

  7. Nature and parenting contain a flexibility to be blown by life's storms, yet return to stand strong and steadfast. We bend, but do not break. As a matter of fact, we are part of the wind, and survival depends on the interaction of all living things that share the Earth with us. Parents should take care of nature. They should teach their children that we are part of the chain of nature and that our wellbeing and that of future generations depends on it. Nature is constantly transforming, as are parents.

  8. When loved and introduced to nature by parents, children's "natural intelligence" increases and they remain closer in awareness to their natural roots.

  9. Children's closeness to parents and closeness to nature are both important and go hand-in-hand. Nature and parents help nourish and shelter their babies. They are both teachers who give their children physical and emotional strength. Parents give children love and information. Equally important is the information and love children receive from their environment, which their parents indirectly provide them by placing children in the lap of nature.

  10. Parents and nature change form with time. But we all endure!

Healthy parenting and interaction with nature help drive our children's natural senses. Both parents and nature help comprise the stepping-stones that form children and allow relationships across the entire ecosystem. Children thereby remain part of their natural surroundings, instead of the missing piece of a puzzle.

About the author:
Mark Stevens, author of Luisa's Nature (Wyatt MacKenzie Publishing, Spring 2008), is a journalist for Crain's Automotive News Europe. Fluent in French, Spanish and German, Mark has enjoyed extensive world travel throughout much of his life. Shaped by the rural New Jersey setting of his youth, Mark continues to explore the richness of nature with his wife and two children on the outskirts of Munich, Germany. For more information visit www.luisasnature.com.

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