About twice a year, my friend Ron Gulledge and I will do what we call “Playing Hooky.” Like when you were in high school and skipped a day, we will take a day off on a Friday to take a hike and get back to nature.
This past Friday, we went to Kings Mountain National Park. In this day and age of the high pressure workplace and being overwhelmed by technology, these hooky days have had a recharging affect. Nature has a way to bring peace and calm to you through its wonders, simplicity, beauty, and solitude. We learn, reflect, observe, exercise, and remind ourselves there is a whole world out there that is often ignored.
As a planner of schools with a keen interest in education, I’ve found that kids, too, need to Play Hooky, and perhaps take a hike. Our absorption with technology and fear of letting our kids explore, has deprived our kids of the opportunity to be more aware of their environment. As a kid, I was able to spend my afternoons outside playing and summers exploring the woods, catching reptiles, or going fishing. Wouldn’t it be nice if our schools began engaging more programs and learning settings in the outdoors? Oxygen does wonders for recharging the brain cells. Actually, many schools are doing just that. And as families, we should visit our state and national parks, and go to zoos or museums. It is time to look at the world through our own eyes again, rather than through a 7” screen.
I’d like to recommend two good books on getting back to nature. The first is Last Child in the Woods, which takes a close look at ‘nature-deficit disorder’ in our children, and how we can save our children from it. The second is a humorous approach, Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods. It’s a story of rediscovering America by walking the Appalachian Trail.
So, please….once in a while, do yourself a favor and play hooky.