Raising a Pioneer in a Cyber World
Outdoor Activities, Hunting, and More
by Beth Langley
I remember sitting at my Papa’s knee listening to him tell stories of when he rode in the back of a horse and carriage going down the “uptown” streets of our small North Carolina town. I would sit in awe trying to transport back to that place. Imagining a street with no cars. Trying to picture my Papa as a young boy playing marbles on the wood slatted sidewalks. Quite honestly it was beyond my comprehension and still is. But what I would give to just be a fly on the wall and witness the simplicity of that life, if only for a day.
Fast forward a few decades… My kids still snicker and sit in disbelief when I tell them I grew up without a cell phone. What’s worse, the wi-fi wasn’t even a thing. They can’t believe that my now husband had to borrow a bag phone from his cousin to make a three and a half-hour drive to visit me. He had to borrow it from her because iThingy’s wasn’t a thing. Flip phones weren’t even a thing yet! And neither of our families were progressive enough to own a phone that you took in your car!
While I’ll be the first to admit that the modern era in which we live has a certain convenience that I’ve grown quite accustomed to, I yearn for slower days. I long for nights lying under the starry sky with the crickets chirp the only song we hear. Days where father and son go out hunting together, fishing, and so much more.
My kids are growing up much more tech-savvy than I did. They have access to more at their fingertips than I had in an entire library. I go to them with questions on my smartphone and laptop. They understand the wireless world and for that I’m glad. However, with that being said, I want them to experience the beauty of an unplugged childhood. I want them to remember staring at the clouds to see which animal they can spot. I want them to search for hours for the ever-elusive four-leafed clover. I want them to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. The beauty that even the best camera can never capture.
Here are some of the things we are doing to help them enjoy the conveniences of today while still remembering to stop. take a look around. and simply enjoy the moment – unplugged.
Encourage Outdoor Play
You may be saying, “well that’s obvious”, but when is the last time your kids went out to play in the dirt? I pass empty parks all the time. Or worse, I pass parks with a lonely child swinging while mom or dad scan their social feeds.
The best way to encourage outdoor play is to play outside WITH them! I’ve failed at this more than I care to admit, but on the days I have gotten it right we have made memories that will last after I am gone. My kids still laugh at my inability to make contact with a ball and a bat. They still chuckle at my “fancy footwork” in soccer that landed my backside on the ground. Get outside and ban electronics. I know we use the “well I need to take pictures” excuse – guilty over here too! BUT so many times I wind up doing a little more than simply taking pictures!
Need some old-fashioned ideas for outdoor “games” to play? Try some of these:
- Target practice (these ones for older kids and use proper protection of course!) which will also help them when it comes time for hunting.
- Go bird watching or if you live in an area duck or turkey watching.
- Hide and Seek
- A nice stroll on a sunny day is hard to beat! Just don’t forget eye protection.
Teach Kids to Harvest their own Food
There is something special about harvesting your own food. Be it through a garden or hunting, the satisfaction from knowing exactly where your food came from is unparalleled. My mom is a “canning queen”, I’m trying to learn but haven’t perfected it quite yet. She and my dad grow the vegetables and we all reap the benefits. My kids help with the planting and harvesting each year. When we sit down to eat, at least one of my kids will ask, “Are these the beans from MaMaw and PaPaw?”. It just tastes better when you know where it came from and especially when there is sweat equity involved.
In the last few years my middle man-child has taken up hunting, and he’s quite good at it! YAY! He is keeping our freezer full of yummy venison. He is beyond proud when I prepare a dish that he helped provide. I just love the sense of purpose I see every time I announce, “this is some of your meat, buddy!”. I will insert a little something here. If you send junior to harvest some venison, this is the “unplugged” exception. I always make sure dad and son both have cell phones – just in case there were to be any hunting accidents or if they get separated.
Let Kids be Kids
Splash in the rain. Spend a day lying around in pj’s and eating junk food. Dance in the kitchen. Skip nap time and go on a scavenger hunt. Eat cookies for breakfast.
We must be responsible with it, but there comes a point in almost every little boy’s life when they want a knife, like I said we must be responsible, but they’re “of age” to get it for them. And after you get it for them, teach them to be responsible for it. Maybe even learn to carve Christmas ornaments or key chains while you’re at it!
I know this isn’t what we hear many times today but kids need to feel the squishy mud between their toes at least once in their life. I grew up drinking from the water hose and running barefoot… gasp. I’m still here to tell you about it. I’m not bragging… but in my day I could make a mean mud pie.
Remember what it was to be little and then let your kids be. They will have to grow up all too soon and everything that comes with that. Protect the innocence that only comes once in a lifetime.
Set Specific “No Electronic” Zones
Set these zones and don’t budge! Ours is the dining room table and each night for our family devotional time. Have a place where talking is the only thing to do. I’ve missed out on so many fun times because I had a screen pressed between my fingers! As the new year approaches, I’m vowing to be present in the moment. Will you join me?
What are your ideas for raising a pioneer soul in a tech-loving world? I’d love to hear them! I’m always looking for new ideas to bring calm to the chaos we call life.
Are you looking for a new way to keep your kids safe? Check out these Find’em Scent Safe Lockers. Such a great idea in this crazy world we inhabit!