It’s that time of year again, and the yard is full of teenagers. The house, too, it turns out, as youngsters keep finding their way in, and we keep gently ushering them out. Chestnut-Backed Chickadee, Bewick’s Wren, and Oak Titmouse so far. Flocks of hungry teens chasing their parents around the land, squalling for food. Otherwise dignified parent Birds looking harried and spent, trying to keep those mouths and bellies full enough that they can get a moment’s rest.
Young Chickadees, though, are now learning to open seeds on their own. They are anvil-pounders, so they hold a seed with a foot, a perch with another foot, then pound the seed open with their beak, using the perch as an anvil, extracting the nutmeat from inside. Right now, though, this involves a lot of surprised falling into the dish feeders and inexpertly-held seeds going shooting off into space. There is an art, too, to choosing a seed which is going to be easily gripped during flight and subsequent pounding. Some of them are getting it, though, while some are taking some time. Adults will sort through the feeder, looking for seeds which will travel and pound well.
What causes the youngsters to finally make that leap from begging, to experimenting, to proficiency, to fluency? A Human parent asked me, recently, about how to get children excited about engaging with nature. I think that at least one answer is common to both: be interested in it, yourself. The young Birds will, eventually, be curious about this thing their parents are doing, processing food in whatever way their people do so. Young Humans often gravitate, consciously or not, towards things their parents are interested in, or passionate about. Not in an “I’m passionate about this, so you must be, too” sense, but more obliquely, or in parallel, “This is something I love doing. If you’re interested, too, you can also do it.”
More specifically to Humans, perhaps, meet your kids halfway, at least. They have things they are interested in and passionate about, too, and they’d love to teach you about them. Let them. Ask them questions in a way that is genuinely inquisitive, not critical. Let them teach you about their worlds, on their terms. Of course, there are times when you have to be the “adult”, and exercise veto power, within reason, but this is not one of them. Your kids, too, should have arenas in which they have veto power, within reason.
Of course, so much depends on your beliefs about children, of how adults are to relate to children, how you were treated as a child, what kind of world you’d like to live in, etc… How many relationships is this true in? How do you get inspired to learn new things? New skills? To form new relationships? How did you get inspired to connect with Nature, or have you had that inspiration? If not, what would inspire you to do so? Do we even need Nature anymore, now that we can watch recordings of it on our devices? How do we get kids excited about being in the world, off their devices, when we have a hard time extricating ourselves from said devices, ourselves?
How is this relevant to Transition Towns, and life in the Transition Era?
Great conversation, last time. We bounced around, a lot, talking about romantic relationships, herbal medicine, Green Flying, as well as Hands in Transition Towns.
Mugwort, other herbal medicines
Romances-how do you decide whether to respect your friends’ opinions?
Green flying-carbon offsets?
-Repair Café-How to clean a hard drive