Thursday, April 29, 2010

Building A Better Father: Aggressively Granola

I've always been into nature. I've always been outdoorsy. Until now I've been passive in my granolaness. Sure I've done my share of cool outdoor adventure stuff but It's always been just for fun. Now that I am a father it takes on a more serious meaning. I want and need to instill a love for nature in my daughter and am taking calculated measures to do so.

I am becoming obsessed with increasing my knowledge of the outdoors, from gardening to backpacking. I know a lot of the birds that are indigenous to our area; I know most of their calls. Now I want to know theit migration patterns so I can tell my girl where they're going and when. I've created an indoor worm composting bin for our kitchen scraps. Lately I've been studying what plants and mushrooms are safe for eating, where they grow and when so she'll know that not all food has to come from the store. I recently joined MAW (The Mycological Association of Washington) to hasten my mushroom education. Last week I went on my first guided mushroom foray and loved it. I found a handful of morels which I threw in an egg scramble, very tasty.

Doing this research and gaining these new experiences have become my main goal. Hopefully some of what I am learning will turn into future lessons for my daughter with the off chance that one of them might take root and turn into genuine interest, passion, and ultimately gratitude toward nature.

My dad was and is the same way, we would hike a lot, go on the occasional camping trip and generally have fun in outdoors. While hiking, he would make my brother, sister and me stop yaking and stand still in silence for 5 minutes just to see what else was in the woods with us.  This would bring us back into the moment. Sometimes it was a deer sometimes a pileated woodpecker, sometimes just air flowing through leaves; stopping and appreciating almost always resulted in something cool that we would have never seen or heard if we had kept on our way.

Maybe he felt the same call to duty as I do.

The more passions I have and the more experienced I become, the better off my little girl will be.


Aaron R said...

Bravo to you, and lucky to your little girl. All children should have parents who encourage them to be inquisitive about their surroundings.

I can't help but notice, though, that you tagged your own post "hero". Well deserved, I suppose =)

Freewheel said...

This is really wonderful, and important, too. There have been a bunch of articles/books about the "nature deficiency" as kids stay inside more to play video games or whatever they do these days.

Of course, another benefit is that you have cute backpacking buddy.

Cycle Jerk said...


BTW Aron, I was referring to my father.

Elizabeth | The Natural Capital said...

It's amazing to see how much of this information kids can pick up -- they're like sponges. One of my great joys this spring has been hearing my friend's 4-year-old remember the names and edibility of several plants that I've taught her. And boy, does she love mushrooms! At least until middle school, parents' enthusiasm is catching.

reverend dick said...

Man if you ever come out to the Monterey Bay in the springtime...bring your bike, your kids and we'll go mushroom hunting like you've never seen.