As a mum I find that I tend to second guess myself a lot. I never really feel like I do enough for my children, or maybe I just don’t know how to give myself the credit for it. So in continuing with my quest to find ways to raise kids that are not couch potato/technology addicted/money-driven/spoiled brats that have no idea of what goes on in the real world, I’ve been trying to see the good in some of the things we do with our kids. One of which is spending time outdoors.
And in the same breath, I’ll be upfront and admit that I’m not an outdoor person at all. Mind you, I have indulged my husband and kids and have been on a few fishing trips, hikes, game drives and those sort of activities that only people with patience and a like for mosquito-repellent sprays, mosquitos, bugs and sun block in thick layers, enjoy. I had tick bite fever once (it’s a terrible thing!), and I’ve spent hours on the boat catching nothing but sunburn to the 3rd degree. Eventually each time, I drifted off and dreamed of my bed, my shower, the city and tarred roads.
I guess I’m very lucky that my husband loves the outdoors. Did I say loves? I mean he is fanatical about fishing. And luckily he has passed this on to my sons.
My daughter will go along just because she gets to spend time with her dad. They have developed a hobby of bird-watching as well and can probably name almost all the birds in South Africa, and that’s a lot. (Look mama, it’s a purple crested loerie!) It also teaches them perseverance, to care about the environment, to conserve (throw back the fish once you’ve taken a few pictures with it) and to thoroughly enjoy the simple things in life. The excitement of waking up at 3am, packing the boat, getting a picnic basket ready and stopping at the garage for snacks is unmatchable. We also tend to holiday locally in places where the scenery and surroundings are what make the holiday unforgettable.
Now I know that I sound awfully old-fashioned but I feel that kids of today aren’t exposed enough to nature and all its wonders. Yes I’m not really one for it but that could be because I wasn’t exposed to it much myself (purely based on circumstances). We live in a society where kids are very competitive about material things, and thoughts can become rather superficial. During the week we’re all busy with work and school and on the weekend, as much as we’d all like to just relax and do nothing, maybe putting in a little bit of effort and getting out a bit will instil a love for the great outdoors and hopefully, some other interests besides playstations and ipads. And I really think that experiences mean much more than things.
This article was originally written for Jozikids by Fatima Kazee in 2015.