Ok. I'm about 20 pages from the end of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. It takes me a while but I finish them either because of this blog or because I promise the book to someone when I'm done. I mentioned it to a new-friend-also-Mom-to-an-8- year-old (yes, and-a-puppy-mom). They like to spend time outside. I mentioned it when I first starting reading it. Now, every time I see her she asks me if I've brought her the book and every time I see her I'm not done. Next time I'll be done.
Here is an example of the parent wisdom woven through these pages. Again, as he's advocating that we find ways to get our kids outside as individuals, as families, as schools, and through other organizations you'll also discover thin golden threads about parenting in today's world.
I was impressed with this:
"Don't just tell your kids about evil; teach them about good - teach them to seek out adults who can help teach them about good - teach them to seek out adults who can help them when they feel threatened. Teaching appropriate trust is more difficult than teaching fear, but just as important." (LCW p. 181-182) Encouraging healthy social interaction with good-hearted, trustworthy, caring adults will help kids learn to recognize the people they can trust.
He goes on for a couple more pages talking about parent-child relationships. He believes that children who are emotionally vulnerable are the children most at risk. (LCW p. 183-186) He says that although the physical dimensions of parenting and protection are important, the emotional bonds can offer even greater protection. Isolation isn't what will protect them, but socialization and healthy ongoing love, communication, and availability from their grown ups. It will help kids learn to discern good and evil. It will help them have the courage and emotional strength to say "no" when they need to and to know who to trust. A difficult task, indeed.
Don't laugh. The same applies to puppies.