It concerns me that NO! rates as the most overused word in the English language. I overhear it everywhere these days. Why? Yes! resounds with optimism and probably elicits stronger connections to positive action.
During a morning visit to the Volkswagen Dealer’s waiting room, I observed a mother and her three year old son. She babbled not to do this and that whenever he moved. She then turned on the t.v. and spent ten minutes telling him, “NO” as his fingers kept turning it off. Several other clients sent glares her direction when he kept playing his sound board’s train whistle, despite her NO! repetitions. Who provided the conditioning here? Where did her creativity and ability to problem solve disappear? How about trying a little distraction instead of negativity?
I watched in silence wanting to provide a positive moment for this overly “No’d” child. I’d release him from anxiety and escort his energy across the street to a park. Nature could teach him notions about the world his mother could only view from a negative side.
Rachel Carson in Sense of Wonder detailed an afternoon spent at the beach. Her grandson experienced the world of nature with all his senses. He taught her to delve into a learning experience. I’ll bet she flung Yeses! at him during the adventure.
Nature writers have published books that reveal why children need wild places. These authors show how children with a lot of energy can benefit from immersion in a natural setting. Gary Nabhan’s The Geography of Childhood, Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods. Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder and David Sobel’s Childhood and Nature. Design Principles for Educators should become required reading for physicians and parents before any medicating begins.
Children need the activity and comfort that interacting with plants, trees and animals offers. If parents also become involved in the natural world, they will learn ways to assist the child. Their ability to award them with a YES! may also increase.
Driving home, I saw the bumper sticker that made my day: Wag More. Bark Less.
Creative Write: Describe an experience finding YES! today.