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The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another and all involved in one another.

Thomas Merton

IN TODAY'S SESSION... The children discussed the importance of connecting with nature and took a nature inventory of the grounds around the congregation.


Together with your child(ren), estimate the time they spend playing indoors as opposed to playing outdoors. Then, compare the free time they spend in front of computers, television, video games, etc. with the time spent in nature. Ask them which is more fun, and why. Some factors that can limit children's outdoor play time include the location of your home, the proximity of safe outdoor play places, the extent of a child's structured, indoor non-school activities, and your family's culture and practices. As you talk with your child(ren), think about ways you could increase their access to outdoor experiences.


Make a commitment to engage your children in unstructured, outdoor play time. If you are concerned about children's safety outdoors on their own or with peers, spend time as a family in unstructured time outdoors. At a park, on a trail hike, at a beach, in a rowboat, or even at a neighborhood playground, make time for your children to simply be outside.


Take pencils and notebooks to a meadow, a wood, or a body of water and do a nature inventory together. Sketch or write about some of the flora and fauna you see. At home, use the Internet and books to identify the plants and creatures you saw and learn more about them.


The song, "Blue Boat Home," Hymn 207 in Singing the Journey: Supplement to Singing the Living Tradition (words by Peter Mayer, melody by Rowland Huw Prichard), would be a good one to listen to, talk about and sing together. Some of the lyrics are:

Far away from the rolling ocean
Still my dry land heart can say
I've been sailing all my life now
Never harbor or port have I known
The wide universe is the ocean I travel
And the earth is my blue boat home.


Plan to include outdoor time in your week. Walking a short distance you normally drive (such as to school or to a nearby friend's house); having a snack or meal outdoors instead of indoors; or simply playing outdoors one afternoon a week will improve your child(ren)'s acquaintance with the outdoors and decrease their time spent interacting with two-dimensional media such as computers, video games and television.

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