Where Our Wonder Takes Us: Children, Nature, and Faith

“Faith-based communities and religious organizations could play a much larger role in helping children and adults know the world, and beyond, through nature.” – Richard Louv

Last fall, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and founder of the Children and Nature Network, wrote a blog post that listed different ways faith communities can play a larger role in conservation efforts, both global and local, in order to help children know and appreciate the natural world.

There are some great ideas in there, including cultivating nature-based preschools and daycare centers, incorporating nature into church camps, and even using property to create nature zones for birds and butterflies – something A Rocha is already doing!

Behind these ideas is a theory about the relationship between spirituality, stewardship, and the values we want our children to inherit. For Louv, what binds all these things together is wonder. “Many religious leaders,” says Louv, “believe it’s time to move beyond the division, in Biblical interpretation, between dominion and stewardship.”

In other words, when we come from a place of wonder, when we approach the natural world in all its beauty, power, and complexity, these three things follow. We praise the Maker, we work to care for creation, and we teach our children to do the same.

You can see more of Richard Louv’s ideas, and his call to faith communities, here. To go even deeper with the idea of wonder, check out Unwrapping Wonder from A Rocha member Carol O’Casey.

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