When I was young, I walked 2 miles to school, through 2 foot high snow drifts.
Okay, just a bit of a hyperbole.
But, I did walk to school everyday. No family car meant no other option. I even got up early to leisurely engage in an appreciation of the seasonal changes of budding trees, skipping through autumn leaves or packing snow balls. The brisk walked readied me for the more sedentary school day. But, apparently, children today need persuasion. So, this week is the International Walk to School event.
I rather thought walking to school would be a no brainer.
That is, until I experienced multiple days of walking through empty parks. As I live in an area of young families I could only wonder where were the children playing enthusiastically on the swings, teeter-totter and slides.
While stats convey that “46 per cent of students get three hours or less of active play a week, including week-ends”, I am not so much lamenting the children’s lack of exercise, but rather how they are missing the simple joy of being outside, actively engaging with our common natural habitat.
With so much focus on educating children on the delicate balance within the environment and fostering an appreciate of the vital connection between all living things, it would seem a natural idea to experience that connection through the senses.
And so I was pleased, as I travelled my habitual morning neighbourhood walk today, to pass school-aged children skipping hand in hand together, mothers pushing multiple babies in strollers and dads holding a child’s hand on one side, a dog’s leash on the other.
Walk to school.
Walk to work.
It not only has the potential for invigorating exercise, a clearing of the mind and a friendship binder, but the potential for a life-affirming engagement with nature.