Thursday, April 27, 2017

Share the Love: Learning how to Raise a Wild Child at the Chicago Botanic Garden {giveaway}

The irony of this post is that I'm going to talk about engaging beyond screens while I'm writing ... on a screen {because that's how you do this writing thing these days, and the world in which we live involves devices and screens}.

Before you think I'm anti-device and anti-screens, let me be real: we have more screens at this house than the one on which I'm writing!

My children use screen devices, and we are not screen-haters or complete screen-avoiders because in reality, you can't live in this day and age without having some access to devices. Screens and devices are embed in our culture. But like many parents who work in the world of technology, we limit screen and device time for ourselves and our kids because we've found that too much of a good thing isn't really a good thing.

I've found my teens are literally surrounded by screens all day long unless we consciously choose to leave devices behind, and my three younger kids vie for screen time often and loudly.

I'm the keeper of the screens/devices, and to be honest, it's a little draining to be in that role, so instead of trying to persuade my kids to give up their electronics or understand the dangers of device overuse, I've decided to try and facilitate a yearning for life beyond devices and screens.

There's an old saying by Antoine de Saint-Exupery that says,"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

So that's exactly what we're trying to do because it's become clear to me that electronic overuse is stealing something from us -- something maybe we don't even realize!

Two years ago my friend Renee wrote quite eloquently about how our lives are a collection of moments and how as we live "we become moment collectors, memory creators and master storytellers of stories that are ours and ours alone." How we engage in our lives and spend our time directly affects how our stories play out in our one beautiful life.

Renee's post resonated with me, as I know it has resonated with many parents, and it came to me at a time in which I could see much of our attention being diverted toward electronics and away from connection with each other and the beautiful things of life, like nature, community and creating.

One of the ways our family has been trying to engage in life beyond screens is through connection time and outdoor time; when we can, we try to roll these two things into one adventure.

Two Mondays ago, on a beautiful sunny day when all of my children had the day off of school and homeschool, we left behind most of the screens (I took mine along to document our day for my quarterly #gardenambassador post, which you are reading right now; thank you!) and headed into the great outdoors at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

It was lovely.

That's an understatement.

Not just the vibrant colors, the rich sounds of spring and the brand new Regenstein Learning Campus but the joy of being together, outside, largely focused on enjoying each other and the blooming beauty of spring and creation was so very life-giving.

Visiting the garden, especially the brand new Learning Campus, was such a wonderful way of engaging in life beyond screens and participating in activities like rolling down grassy green hills, racing siblings obstacle-course style over log stumps and playing tag under the spring-time sun. The kids an I also spent some time sketching the blooming flowers, reading the signs lining the plant-lined paths and laughing with each other as we enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors.

It was just so good for my soul and for theirs that 4/5 of us didn't want to leave the garden; that's a pretty good ratio considering we are a pretty diverse group of individuals!

During our visit, one of the upcoming Garden Talks caught my attention. Scott D. Sampson, who you probably know as the paleontologist from PBS' Dinosaur Train, will be speaking about concepts from his book How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature. While I haven't read this particular book, my interest was definitely piqued by his premise of how a child's experiences in science and nature are critical to a child's development.

Sampson's talk is Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 3 p.m. at Alsdorf Auditorium, Chicago Botanic Garden. The cost is $25/nonmember and $20/member. You can buy tickets here!

Speaking of taking time to connect, Sampson's Garden Talk would make for a perfect friend date or date night! The Garden is giving away two tickets to this Garden Talk and a parking pass. You and a date or friend could enjoy the Garden Talk, stroll the grounds, enjoy the beauty of spring, have a picnic ... the options are endlessly lovely!

Simply enter with Rafflecopter and I'll choose a winner by Monday, May 1!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I am grateful to be a Chicago Botanic Garden Ambassador! My family loves The CBG, and in exchange for sharing about happenings at the Garden, my family receives a yearly membership. All opinions are my own, of course! 


  1. This looks like such a wonderful event! We love the gardens. Thank you for sharing!!!

    1. This is Daphne, not sure why it showed unknown!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! We love the CBG ❤️


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