Nature deficit disorder originated in the book Last Child in the Woods, where the author hypothesizes that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. I couldn’t agree more and that’s why my kids and I tend to ride our bikes or hike in the woods come rain or shine.
Last Saturday’s excursion had my 7 yr old son – PJ – and I peddling out the Reformatory Branch trail and the impending conditions were ominous. We headed outside and it was steady rain and temps in the mid 40’s – pretty dreary to say the least. I looked at PJ and he said “Hmm, doesn’t seem much like bike weather, but who cares, let’s go for it”. I could have bronzed that parental moment as my wife and I strive to get my kids outside all the time to avoid the sirens call of all things electronic. I have made a living in the Tech world for nearly 30 years, so am no stranger to the lure of screens be them tablet, PDA, or any sort of TV.
PJ blew me away with his ability to just take it all in stride, while riding his beloved Green Trail 24 Boys bike (http://www.cannondale.com/24-m-trail-brushed-28564) . Several times we would be sliding along on the mud across slick wooden bridges, or navigating tight muddy sections, and he would just hum along (literally) on his merry way. We stopped at our favorite bike shop – Bikeway Source in Bedford – to say “hello” and admire their new renovations. Then we headed over to good friends’ Mike and Cathy Rowell’s house for a quick visit for another rain break. PJ loves their kids – cats Opie and Ellie – and does his best to not annoy them too much.
PJ was a bit gassed on the way home, as Dad once again pushed the “miles in the rain” meter, so we put on our lights and headed back via road for a bit. As as we came upon the hidden guard rail entrance to Great Meadows Trail, I gave him the choice and PJ happily plunged back into the muddy trail and we headed behind Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and back to our house.
PJ asked me to wash down his muddy bike, and as he headed into the house I heard him say to my wife” Dad and I had a good time on our bikes in the rain. We biked in the mud, on the road and even used are lights. I have a light you know”.
No need to worry about Nature Deficit Disorder today with this Boy…..and his Bike.