September Week 1: Observe


Do you enjoy being outside? When was the last time you were outside? When was the last time you were outside and really enjoyed it?

“Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children, as the leopard; and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society, to that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man.” – Henry David Thoreau

You in Nature

How much do you go outside? Why do you go outside?

“The healing powers of nature are only limited by mans idleness.” – Nature for Kids

Your Children

How much do your children go outside? Do they ask to go outside or do they require a bit of prodding? Do you bring them inside quickly in favor of a to-do list? How do you feel about your answers?

“What do parents owe their young that is more important than a warm and trusting connection to the Earth…?” – Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth

Your Family

As a family, how much do you go outside? Think about some of your favorite family moments. Are any of them outside? Most of them?

“Let Nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth

Scheduling Time in Nature

Look at your daily schedule. Is there a time each day where you could be outside this month? If not a large chunk of time, are there moment you could incorporate more observation of nature during your day?

Some examples: Looking out the window and choosing your favorite flower while you’re in the car. Finding the colors of the rainbow in nature (red flower, blue sky, green grass, etc.). Reading outside, doing homework outside, stopping at a park, planning a hike, stepping outside for the sip of coffee in the morning, etc.

“Nature-deficit disorder describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illness. This disorder can be detected in individuals, families, and communities.” – Richard Louv

Family Interview

Ask your family (individually and/or collectively) what their feelings are on being outside. Do they think they spend enough time outside? Too much? Do they dread it? Do they love it? Look forward to it? Do they like being outside in the rain? What’s their favorite time, season, temperature, type of weather, etc. to be outdoors? Write down their answers.

“Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.” – John Muir

From Discomfort to Action

Did any of the journal prompts, your observations, or family’s answers from this week make you uncomfortable? If so, can you think of discomfort as a call to action? Do you see where you would like to make changes? Write about it.

“I am well again, I came to life in the cool winds and crystal waters of the mountains…” – John Muir