Digging in Dirt: A New Year’s Parenting Resolution

The New Year is often for setting resolutions for yourself. More often than not, these goals include ways to live a healthier life. But one area that tends to get overlooked is the simple act of getting our rear-ends outside. This year I want to get my children involved in my goal, too. So, this year, I plan on immersing my family into nature and getting a little dirty.

Our world suffocates us with distractions. Between screens, getting the kids to their practices, and everything else that life thunders down upon us, there’s little time left to be present—with anything. I don’t know about you but when I carve out the time to be with nature, I truly feel rejuvenated. I love jogging through my favorite trail during all of the seasons. The trees protect me from the rain or the wind, and they push my soul to be connected with the stillness of nature. I inhale the wild air and feel the adrenaline work its way through me. Why not get my children involved in magic this, too?

Kids need the time to feel the earth around them—beneath them. It’s vital that we give them the time to observe the veins of a leaf, wildlife bouncing through the snow, a caterpillar in the grass, or the green moss wrapping around a tree. Children need the time to dig into the dirt, feel it between their fingers, and get stains on the knees of their pants. By slowing down our moments outside, our children’s hearts and emotions will slow, too. What greater gift can we give them than a peaceful heart and a connection to nature?

My plan of attack will be simple: more hikes on trails. Just because we don’t live out in the country doesn’t mean there isn’t nature all around us. I just need to try a little harder. Weekly, I want to load up the kids with some snacks in the car and set out to a little adventure. We don’t need to travel far to make it happen, either. But on some weeks, I hope to discover a new little haven with towering trees a drive away. I want to let my children lead me in their discoveries, too. I should give them no rules in the wilderness. From here, I will encourage my kids to bring some of their findings home. Then we can investigate. Maybe we’ll all learn about a new tree, an edible mushroom, or a disgusting new bug. The possibilities are boundless when you’re outside.

Overall, I want this year to be filled with a feeling of connectedness to nature—not only for me, but for my children as well. I want to gift my children the feeling of the trees embracing them while inhaling the air of the wild. If I can give my children this gift, they will hopefully grow up knowing how to slow down, how to observe details others may not see, and most importantly, how to be present. Not only will this teach my children several great lessons in life, but it will most certainly teach their mother a thing or two as well. Maybe the knees of my pants will even get stained, too.

What is one of your New Year’s resolutions?