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Being with nature completes us

Being with nature completes us
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This is my typical response to Zeke, my elder son. Kids these days have limited interactions with real beings. They’re more interested in their stupid...

“You’re 13 years old! What do YOU need a cell phone for?”

This is my typical response to Zeke, my elder son. Kids these days have limited interactions with real beings. They’re more interested in their stupid phones! When Zeke had his friends over for a party recently, I literally took away their phones, and told them to ‘TALK’. Because that’s what one should do when they have company! His friends simply stared at me in disbelief.

My childhood was obviously very different from my kids’. My grandparents were farmers, so we didn’t go for fancy holidays. Instead, we visited my grandmother’s farm in Vasai. So, I can safely say that I grew up close to nature.

I’ve always tried to raise my kids in sync with the elements of the earth. Most of our family holidays are spent amidst nature. Yes, they are a little disappointed when the scenic, secluded faraway forest has limited network, but once they get into it, there’s no looking back. They love being in nature. Who doesn’t? Unfortunately, we are so used to living in cities, cut off from nature, that we feel incomplete without our devices. But being amidst tall trees, fallen leaves and the distant sound of some animal is a definite stress buster.

I remember our trip to Bhimbetka, one of the oldest cave civilisations on earth with their carvings intact. This really interested Zene and Zeke. I feel that interaction with the physical environment should be a natural extension of our day to day lives, and not forced. When we immerse ourselves into the holiday, we realise we don’t need much to make us happy.

For instance, I remember when we were in the Nilgiri forests, just sitting very quietly, waiting to hear the sound of the leopard sawing - It was the most exciting event of the day! Then, to know it passed our villa while we were sitting up in the viewing deck.

Oh my God! That was really something. No phones, no games, no school, no fancy feasts, nothing. Just the darkness and the forest outside. And then to wake up to a deer outside our room, can you imagine how wonderful that feels?

Their passion for nature is one reason why I really love the efforts Sony BBC Earth has taken to bring nature closer to kids. When I heard about their initiative, ‘Feel Alive Hours’, and the research findings on how being close to nature makes one happier, it got me thinking that maybe the main reason everyone prefers holidays amidst nature is to refresh themselves.

Sony BBC Earth has designed content to refresh children ahead of their annual exams by showcasing programs related to science, nature and adventure while conducting cool science experiments at schools. These include making a huge bubble out of dry ice or showcasing an entire ecosystem by creating a terrarium with minimal care. These are easy interactive workshops, which will incline kids towards nature related activities, even once they’re out of school. Nature in small doses,
really.

I understand it’s quite difficult to keep kids away from technology, but one can make conscious efforts to limit the duration. So, it’s one step at a time…towards nature and towards the overall well-being.

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