Throughout the history of the Church, there have been men and women of all backgrounds who have felt that they connected to the Lord when out in nature. Being immersed in God’s creation is a wonderful way to practice being still. It’s also a wonderful place to take a break from the noise of the world and to spend some time in quiet prayer–just you and Jesus.
But, it should be no surprise, that often kids and young adults often have a difficult time with this. After all, they’re never alone. Technology has its place, but most people of the younger generations are constantly connected to their phones, to their computers, and to their gaming consoles. From these pieces of tech, they can talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
While having connection might not sound like a bad thing, it can actually create a pathway in the brain that is very difficult to break, similar to addiction. As a result, those who often are immersed in technology have a very difficult time disconnecting.
So how can you find ways to help the children you know in your life disconnect and enjoy God’s creation?
Here are a few suggestions:
Spend Time in Creation Yourself
If you “practice what you preach” and share with your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, the joys of nature by just telling them about your experiences, they may be more likely to want to try to spend some time outdoors.
Take Them on a Nature Walk & Give Them a Journal
Sometimes having something to do is really important for kids and young adults. Ask them if they’ll join you on a walk through nature. Spend an hour in silence walking through a park and then ask them to write down their thoughts and experiences. Make sharing their writing optional as the goal is for them to have an authentic experience, instead of telling you what they think you want to hear.
Travel with Them
In order for children and young adults to feel like they have a connection to nature, do things that are fun, unique outdoors as often as possible. Consider taking them camping. Take them through a mountain range in the autumn when the leaves change. If possible, take them skiing in the winter or to the beach in the summer. Letting them experience these places firsthand will teach them to love these places from an early age.
Do What Interests Them
If your definition of spending time in God’s creation is going on a hike, but they’re interested in looking at bugs, think about what’s really important here: your desires or theirs? Evidence of God’s hand is all around and in diverse places. Start with what they love and what they’re interested to create teachable moments to create interest in creation.