Monday, May 17, 2010

Nature with my son

I finally got an actual weekend off after being away from home for over a month with only one day home. My wife was away at girl scout camp with my daughter so it was just the boy and I for the weekend and we made the most of it. We started off Friday after school with a trip to the park to visit the new goslings and feed the geese. Afterwards we took a long walk on the back trails down the river. The Willamette river is just perfect this time of year. Everything is just a wash of green and blue. The riot of different greens from all of the trees, the blue of the sky, and the river swirling shades of both cascading over the rocks. We spent the whole afternoon hiking and talking before going home to make "guy food" in this case bacon cheeseburgers.

Saturday we went with some friends to play disc golf in the park. We played several rounds and my son played right along with us. We give him a substantial handicap but even considering that he played very well. Saturday night is usually the night when my friends come over to play cards and bullshit. We dealt my son in and included him in the conversation and he was absolutely thrilled to be one of the guys.

Sunday was the Wildflower Festival at the arboretum and my son and I went together for the day. It was a great day. There was great food, good music, wine tasting from the local vinyards, and of course the wildflowers which are magnificent. We went hiking on the many nature trails. I let my son lead and he kept taking every trail upwards and after about an hour we had climbed all the way to the top of Mt. Pisgah. Exhausted but triumphant we stopped to survey the fields around us and revel in our victory before making the trip down. Downward I let him lead as well and before to long we were well and truly lost. Well not exactly, I knew where we were and had a pretty good idea how to get back but I let him struggle with it. He decided to use his tracking skills to find the way and started following horse prints. He actually did a good job and got us on a trail I knew would get us back but I also knew it was very long walk. Eventually I suggested we follow the stream down cross country and he loved the idea. We went off helter skelter downhill through the woods and fields, jumping and laughing the whole way until we made it right back down to the festival grounds.

We stayed another hour or so listening to the bands and making friends before going home to meet my wife and daughter.

The most interesting part of our trip was my sons curiosity. The whole weekend he had millions of questions. He wanted to know where rocks come from so I explained erosion and how rivers change course and everything else I could think of about geology. He wanted to know why some berries were poisonous, so I explained about natural selection and survival. Question after question I answered with the best science I had, simplifying it only so far as absolutely neccessary and he soaked it all up like a sponge.

I wonder if this is what religious people do with their children. Do they walk in the woods answering questions with "God did this" or "God wanted it this way" I imagine they do. I honestly don't know. My best Christian friend is without children and the other Christians I associate with don't really talk about child raising at least not from a religious perspective. I was not raised with religion myself, so have no personal experience.

I would think that they would want to but I am not sure how effective it would be with my son. He would not be satisfied with "Goddidit". Even if he believed in a God he would be asking things like "how did God do it" or "Why did God do it". He is only seven but already his brain looks past the surface and as he gets older I hope this continues and I see him probing deeper and deeper. I hear from many Christians of my acquaintance and in articles and reports that a big problem Christianity is suffering is that children are falling away from the faith after adulthood. That when going to college or when moving from home they abandon Christianity either formally as atheists or in everything but name keeping a token Christianity to please their parents. Could this be because my child is not unique in wanting deeper and better answers than the Bible and the church are capable of providing.

Note: Sorry I have still not posted Alaska pictures, my wife has still not located our memory card reader. I bought another one but it turned out it won't work with my camera. I promise they will be forthcoming.


alphgeek said...

Sounds like a great time. My wife is off to Vegas next week so it's just me and my boys, I'll use your post as an inspiration to go do something different from our normal routine.

Funny what you say about kids asking questions and not accepting pat answers but naturally wanting to understand. It kind of puts the lie to Mark 10:15, at least as far as accepting "Goddidit" as a reasonable answer to any question.

"Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."

I guess that means that challenging accepted dogma, much as a child would, is exactly what Jesus wanted...

Ryk said...

I guess 2000 years ago children were kind of stupid.

Maybe that is the proof of evolution Comfort keeps asking for. People have evolved the ability to be skeptical of parental and tribal dictates.

Tracy said...

With or without being a Christian one can be awestruck at the glory and beauty of nature.

To say there is a tremenedous element missing when one does not acknowledge God as the creator, is an understatement.

It brings much more meaning to the created things. It's can be a deep, worshipful experience with God.

I know you are fascinated with nature. I sooo desire that you had the missing element of God to be in the center of your nature walks and writings of them.

I teach my children apologia science. Which explains science with God as the creator. It's a wonderful curriculum. If you're interested in checking it out,let me know and I'll give you the website.

I think it's of the utmost importantance to understand why we believe what we believe so we can have an answer to give for the Hope that is within us.

We watch educational videos about science that are not God or evolutionary based as well. Explaining how this or that works.

I thought it was interesting that you said your son was absorbing information like a sponge.

It has been and is my greatest prayer for my absorb the things of God, like a sponge... Hungering and thirsting for the knowledge of Him.

Tracy said...

I'll think of you when I go on our nature walk later this week. :)

Ryk said...


I would say there is a missing element when one does not appreciate the natural processes that led to the beauty of the natural world. The staggering immensity of the millions of years of fine, gradual and precise processes which drew this abundance from simple elements, which themselves are the result of billions of years of physical development.

Both those things we have come o understand through our reason and curiosity and those questions yet unanswered are both glorious and awe inspirin. The sense of awe you describe from your understanding that nature is a creation of your deity is mirrored in my appreciation of the majesty and subtlety of the natural sciences.