Home Ethics Sociology

For Generations to Come

594
0
Students pose outside of the Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland. Photo: Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Can you imagine birthing a child – a child that looks, acts, thinks, does, and is – nothing like you? Like, this is your child – but, this child has nothing to do with you. Nothing. Not one thing. Can you imagine that!?! The offspring of a honeytrap, no, but still – nothing like you!

Is this where we are? Are we closing in on the ability to create spawn that having nothing to do with their mothers? Or, their fathers?

If so, should we be letting this happen? Should we be allowing such a phenomenon to carry on!?!?!

Perhaps you are not incensed by this – and perhaps you think I have no idea what I’m talking about – but then, if you’re familiar with my work, you’re bound to know what’s coming. You’re bound to have the patience for…the reveal.

Cos to me, yeah – it’s all about the reveal…

So, where’s the reveal here?

Well, we all know that each generation has its own unique features, and that the youth generations of today – well, they still look kind like us, yeah?

Well – let’s stop for a moment. What are the chances any of you are outside right now, while you read this? Hmmm. Probably less than half of you, yeah? Maybe even a lot less than half. Maybe even most of you, are inside, right now, while you read this…Or, could it be – that all of you, ALL of you, are inside, while you read this? Wow!

So goes the world, eh – that our lives have been driven, in many ways, inside. As in, within doors. Or, put another way. Not out-of-doors. We are not outdoors. Enough.

Would you rather be in doors, or out-of-doors? Ok, ok. It kinda depends on the weather – but generally, not really. It depends on what we have come to love.

For most of my growing-up years, I don’t think I ever met a person who would rather be indoors. What about you? Did you grow up loving the outdoors, and wanting to be outside, every chance you could?

For me, and the mates I pal-ed around with – we were hallowed out with longing – for the outdoors!

Not so much anymore, eh? So, now really – What about now? Where are the nature lovers? Where are the kids who would rather be outside?

Well, why? Why did we love being outside? For me, and perhaps for you too – being outside always represented being – where the fun was! And, oh, yeah! We wanna be where the fun is, yeah!? Yeah!!

What about now-a-days? Hmmm. I learned last week that there REALLY are some school programs that have eliminated recess.

Oi! Ok. Oi! Oi! Oi! Alright. Not gonna judge. But – what!?! Ok – maybe, this is happening a lot? Aye yi yi! I don’t know about all that, for sure – but…

What I do know for sure is that if we want the adults of the future to have a healthy appreciation of all that is outside, or of the out-of-doors, then we have to get, and be – intentional! The adults of tomorrow are the kids of today. So we need to be intentional! And the kids of today, I suspect we all strongly believe, would benefit from being able to participate in:

…environmental education programs,

…recreation education programs, and/or

…outdoor adventure education programs

And where do these programs happen? – well, by necessity, they happen outside!

And such would be the cultivation of the next generation of nature lovers! Lovers of the outdoors! Lovers of being out-of-doors! Does that make perfect sense, or what? In order to be lovin’ it, they have to be learnin’ of it, yeah? When they are young – and impressionable, and still in possession of most of their innocence…

In concert with these musings, Ramont (2017), sparks some keen questions in his recent Recreation Management article. Questions such as,

“How do park districts, forest preserves, and environmental agencies get kids and adults outside –  to gain understanding of their natural surroundings? (p.29), and, How many, who [currently] work in environmental fields, made their first deep connections with nature [while] playing in neighborhood creeks, or tramping through meadows and woodlands (p. 30)?”

In that same article, Lisa Hancock, Director of Development for the Riverbend Environmental Education Center in Pennsylvania, may have summed up “The Reveal” best when she said, “Nature connections make memorable, lasting impressions that – tied with scientific research – drive conservation work. We’ve seen over and over that when children engage with nature through their own sensory experiences and learn how ecological systems work, they develop the passion to protect the natural world (p. 29).”

Conservation!?! What is conservation? Well, a garden variety definition would likely be something like, – the greatest good for the greatest number.

Aye! So now you see it, yeah! The reveal is this – it’s much, much more than just getting and being intentional about getting and being out of doors – it’s also about protecting the natural world where we exist! For future generations!!!!

Aye yi yi!! So – perhaps this discussion should be continued, yeah?

Alright, alright! I agree – tune in next time, when we address the debate about preservation vs. conservation…

Sources:

Cordes, K. A. & Hutson, G. A. (2015) Outdoor recreation: Enrichment for a lifetime. Urbana, IL: Sagamore.

Ramont, R. (2017). Pass it on: Cultivating new nature-lovers with environmental education programs. Recreation Management, April, 2017, 28 – 33.

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here