Build this forest, and the children will come!

A recent “National Geographic Magazine” article estimates children now spend less time outside than the average prisoner. This could have some unhappy effects, since, they claim, children need to be exposed to the microbes in the soil to build up their defenses against diseases that may surface later in life.

But it’s not only children.  Despite common knowledge that getting dirty is good for us physically and mentally, the EPA estimates average American adults now spend 93 percent of their lives indoors. It reminds me of a line in Hotel California that goes, “We are all just prisoners here – of our own device.”

How sad. Do we mean to be that tied to our devices? Is that what we really want? 93%?

In Genesis 1:31, the Bible tells us, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” We, too, should be able to gaze at God’s creation with delight. In Texas you might travel some distance to find a pretty spot; or it might take considerable work to get the desired effect we want from God’s creation in our own back yard. But many hands make for light work.

On Easter Day, children at St. Mark’s sowed native Texas grass seeds onto freshly disked dirt in the King’s Forest. The recent rains will soon yield the fruit of their labors.

Let’s take delight in getting dirty, and help me build a forest for the future. And if one of you likes the idea of a forest more than the labor, I’ve got some board openings I’d love to fill.

Build this forest, and the children will come! Their imaginations, powers of observation, and creativity will have fertile ground to grow while they have fun and get strong. For heaven’s sake, why should they – indeed why should we – be imprisoned by any devices at all?

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