Monday, September 17, 2007

Nature Deficit Disorder

Our faithful summer employee, Kelly, is reading a book I will be sure to read also, Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv. It's subtitle is "Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder." Of course, this is no recognized clinical diagnosis; and I freely admit to not having yet read the book (this is not an endorsement, or review of Louv's work). But a quotation by a fourth grader on an early page caught my attention: "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are."

I thought about that quote yesterday afternoon as I romped on the beach barefooted with David and Lachlan. Lachlan had found an aluminum can (let's hope it was not cavalierly tossed out of a vehicle window), and a three foot long piece of string. I tied the can to the string and Lachlan ran from dunes to surf whooping and hollering with the can trailing behind. Gulls swooped down overhead, and willets & sandpipers poked in the incoming tide. David and I chased him back and forth until he tired of the game. He buried his feet in the sand, then climbed to the tops of the dunes and ran back down. Once he tumbled face first, picked himself up, and spit out the sand before continuing to explore and pick up pieces of shells & driftwood.

I don't think Lachlan has Nature-Deficit Disorder.

This month's newsletter is a story of Captain Joe Burrus, last Ocracoke lighthouse keeper before the beacon was electrified and automated. You can read it here.


  1. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Great story. Kids seem to be largely insulated from making mistakes (fall out of tree, crash a bicycle, falling on a dune with mouth open, etc) to the extent that they seem reluctant to explore the world. Too often this is because of "safety". Being confident in knowing ones limits is a skill that can pay dividends throughout life. Too bad it's not as often learned these days.

  2. Anonymous6:09 PM

    I think I am suffering from Nature-Deficit Disorder...