Do you have a tough time pulling your children away from the TV or shopping mall to take a walk in the park? In honor of Earth Day, Rabbi Shmuley points to the importance of getting your children away from their world of electronics and consumerism to celebrate nature.
Rabbi Shmuley says many children today are part of a consumerist culture. "They are only around things that can be bought, be purchased," he says. "Nothing impresses them, nothing uplifts them, nothing inspires them—but nature can." Take your children to some of the national parks or to a mountain or canyon to be inspired, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Stand in awe and behold something—isn't that what you want your kids to do?" he asks. "If [your child] only knows how to buy things and consume things and own things, do you really think he is going know how to relate to things?"
If you don't expose your children to nature, Rabbi Shmuley says these are the consequences they may face:
- Laziness. "They become sedentary, they become potted plants, they become lazy," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Loss of wonder: "Nothing awes them anymore. They don't see that inner majesty that nature possesses," he says. "You take them on a hike, and they get immediately bored."
- Detachment from the pristine and natural. "They gravitate to artifice. They don't know how to be themselves," Rabbi Shmuley says. "You want [your kids] just to be. That is why nature brings that quality out in them…because it just is."
- Lack of appreciation for the small things in life. A petal of a flower or a cherry blossom can be awe-inspiring, and if children aren't exposed to such wonders, they miss out on the beauty of small wonders, Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Fixation on money. "Things which can be purchased will turn them on, and they will develop a sense of mastery over a sense of connection," he says.
- Corruption. "They become a little bit corrupt; they become consumerist at [age] 10 or 12," Rabbi Shmuley says.
"The special life is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, the natural becomes miraculous, the everyday becomes unique. Finding the magic and wonder within nature is the most assured means by which children rediscover the joy of life."