“Our challenge isn’t so much to teach children about the natural world, but to find ways to nurture and sustain the instinctive connections they already carry.”
When I tell my kids that we will go outside into the woods to explore, they usually don't want to go at first, especially when it's cold. When I mention the work "hike", it makes it even worse. But it is always worth the effort to drag them out. As soon as we are in the woods, they get excited, curious and adventurous. They don't notice that they are hiking and they don't notice the cold (mostly).
Our Sunday morning adventure was unfortunately cut short by a very angry man who yelled at me for letting them play on the ice (at the very edge of the river). He did not know and did not care that I had told them exactly how far they could go, that I had made sure what they were doing was safe and that they were following these instructions. He did not know and he did not care that they were playing with ice and sticks, pretending to fish, pretending to be on a boat and having a wonderful time out in nature. He did not care, nor did he know that his yelling ruined the beautiful silence we were surrounded by. And he did not care one bit that he scared both of my children, that they took my hands quickly to run back to the car. He was judging me, staring at me and, yes, he was yelling at me.
It was a very unfortunate event, and it made it even more clear to me how challenging it is to raise children with a sense of freedom and independence, and to let them explore without a sense of fear ---- challenging but not impossible.