The protection of nature depends on more than the organizational strength of stewardship organizations; it also depends on the quality of the relationship between the young and nature—on how, or if, the young attach to nature. — Richard Louv, author, Last Child in the Woods
IN TODAY'S WORKSHOP... We thought about the protection—or care—available to us and other beings in nature. We considered how we make choices to protect and care for other people, other animals or plants. The workshop drew particularly on the Unitarian Universalist Principle that promotes respect for the interdependent web of life.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... How do members of our family look out for one another? Even if they have never asked, it can reassure a young family member to know how adults anticipate their needs. Name the protection and care available to each of you. Talk about how it can counterbalance the ways we feel vulnerable.
How do members of our family protect and care for other people, animals or plants?
What kinds of care does our family give to and receive from other people in our communities and congregation?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try...
FAMILY SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
In the book Seven Spiritual Laws for Success for Parents, Deepak Chopra designates Mondays as a day to focus on giving; "giving" can be any small kindness, such as a compliment or a smile. You could designate a day to focus on this sort of giving. Plan the giving when you are together in the morning. At the end of the day, gather to report on how each of you gave.
On the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website, find A Day In the Life of a Drop, a page with worksheets about water and wetlands to do together as a family.
Learn more about the life teeming in wetlands.
Learn more about native plants and natural landscapes and find a variety of environmental education resources on the Wild Ones website. Maybe there is a Wild Ones chapter near you.
FAMILY E XPERIMENTS
Children may be curious about how plants drink. All plants have tubes in them through which water flows by means of capillary action. For a quick demonstration, hold a piece of paper towel—a plant product — just barely above the surface of a container of colored water. Watch the color spread up the paper towel.
For a slower but more nature-based demonstration, drop some red food coloring into a glass of water and set a stalk of celery vertically in the glass. After several hours, the red color should highlight the tubes in the celery—evidence of plant capillary action.
For a beautiful result, set white carnations in a vase of colored water. See what happens to the petals.
FAMILY ART EXPEDITION
The plants in and around a pond are a distinctive feature of Monet's paintings, and working en pleine aire, or outdoors, was one of the innovations of the Impressionists. Put some drawing or painting supplies into a backpack and head outdoors! You can share your art work with kids from around the world by registering on the global Kidlink website.