Religious Educator Comments on MNC

Since Mother Nature’s Child looks at nature’s influence on children’s spiritual awareness as well as physical, mental and emotional development, we are pleased to see that churches are taking notice. See below what Martha Dallas, the Director of Religious Education at Burlington’s First Unitarian Universalist Society, recently shared with the congregation after attending a screening:

“In my conversations with other Unitarian Universalists about where and how we experience a sense of transcendence, frequently and commonly we speak of nature. For many of us, as we form and re-form our relationship with the meaning of It All, we seek grounding in the ultimate mystery of earth’s wildness, beauty, creative forms, and wonder.

Recently, I attended a screening of the new film, “Mother Nature’s Child: Growing Outdoors in the Media Age.” I was pleased and not surprised to see several members of our congregation there too. During the film and post-screening dialogue, I was struck by an intuition that for me is at the core of this film; namely, that free, creative, imaginative play is essential to the vitality of our growth and development. And I believe this is as true for adults as it is for children.

Camilla Rockwell’s film rolled out one delicious reminder after another of all the ways in which the natural world engages us as a teacher. Its hidden mysteries pull at our curious instincts, drawing us closer to engage with all our senses. It offers opportunities for healthy risk-taking, which in turn leads to confidence-building. When an experiential connection is made with a place and all the life that inhabits it, empathy and compassion are cultivated. Stewardship for land and life becomes rooted firmly in the heart. And, as I believe we all would attest, our spiritual life nestles so naturally in the wild world! Here we can revel in the awesome essentials and smile and shake our heads in wordless wonder and amazement at the living of which we’re a part.

Do the children and youth you know get (or take) as much free, outdoor playtime as you did? I hope so, but I fear not. For the sake of the future vitality of this planet, and of their spiritual lives, let’s be sure that Mother Nature has generous time to play with our children and youth as they grow. And for goodness’ sake, let’s give ourselves more unstructured, screen-free time outdoors. It will feel good and right because that’s exactly what it is.”

Martha Dallas

Director of Religious Education

Unitarian Universalist Society

Burlington, VT




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