|Gaia, by Genevieve Haven
We put too much on our kids. That was my reaction when I read a recent eco-article in Orion magazine. The author lamented the lack of snow this last winter, but through her children’s eyes. She described how her children waited all winter to sled, the snow not coming until spring, but by then they were too discouraged to go out.
I wanted to shout at her, Get a Grip! Tell your kids to get out there! You’ve been waiting all winter for this! Do you think Mother Earth schedules for your sledding pleasure? And go with them! Throw a snowball! Make an angel!
|Getting to know grass
But our children are just arriving. You can’t grieve for what you do not know. Their task is not activism but getting to know Her. Even in Her moods, she is stunningly beautiful and powerful. The carpenter bees still visit the hummingbird sage; the monarch, the milkweed; the honey bees, so much more promiscuous, seemingly everything in bloom. The sunrise still scoots across the sky with the seasons and if you can find a dark enough spot, the stars still tell stories.
Children love to observe, and even more so when they have company in learning the interrelationships. They need dirt to dig in and little creeks in which to wade. Let them explore the Kingdom of Grass.
One of the most important things we can do for Mother Earth, and for our children, is to enjoy Her, not in an exploitative but related fashion. Studies are suggesting that this needs to happen before age 12, or bonding with the Earth may not happen. She is not here for our use, whether that be strip mining— or sledding (it’s the attitude). We are part of the web of life of which Mother Earth is also part. Teaching our children to be recognize their part in this web, observant and respectful, is important.
Later when they get older, having had their own experiences of grass, dirt, and water, they may well have developed practices that serve life. Then may they too become activists, as I hope many of us adults are, and may that activism be of the heart.