Something recently caught our attention on the Children & Nature Network website. The title of the post, “The Importance of Being Durable: Building Natural Strength in Our Kids” immediately made us think of “grit,” an important part of Foley’s ideology.
In this article, Jennifer Joy Madden explains how “grit” and “resilience” fall under the even broader term: durable. As she says, “Durable means to be the best human being you can be, capitalizing on your own unique powers and drawing strength from the natural world around you.”
Humans are all too ready to turn to a screen for stimulation than turn to our natural world to explore and investigate. The Chinese are actually studying a condition they call, “Internet Addiction Disorder.” It has been noticed that students that spend exorbitant amounts of time online per day actually have less gray matter (as Madden puts it, “the thinking stuff), than students that spend fewer than two hours online per day.
Madden, the author of The Durable Human Manifesto, says, “Early childhood is the only time in life when a person is completely free to discover his or her native ‘gifts.’ I’m not saying that gifts of tablets and apps are not amazing, but their time will come. In the meantime, when toddlers range around, freely using all of their senses to examine, taste, and play with whatever they choose, they are making rich and lifelong neural connections.”
We’re clearly not a summer camp for toddlers, but in the post, Madden explains how older kids also need this downtime. Summer camp allows much needed time for youth to recharge and have the opportunity to use all of their senses in nature each day.
The Durable Human Manifesto: http://durablehuman.com/productions/this-is-the-durable-human-manifesto/