Single Parenting Outside

By Stephanie DeClue | March 2, 1996
From Missouri Conservationist: Mar 1996

I'm a single parent who is away from my kids the better part of each weekday, and the time we spend together as a family is precious. We live in a second floor apartment, so taking them outdoors for some type of activity is always a rewarding experience.

Even a 30-minute walk through the park can thrill twin boys. It's a time when I can focus on them without the distractions of television and phones. Soon they'll be old enough to catch their first fish or take a camping trip, but with two three-year-olds, right now it would be too dangerous for me to try to take them myself.

Places like the Runge Conservation Nature Center are an invaluable resource to moms like me who don't have nature right outside their back door. The center has nature trails and toddler story hours and animal presentations that kids of every age marvel over, and things that we just don't get to see, living in the city. It's delightful to watch them discover nature.

For my part, we read stories about animals and their habitats, we go for nature walks and I try to instill in them respect for nature's strength as well as its fragile balance.

I want them to grow up knowing that interaction with nature can restore a sense of tranquility whenever the pressures of an urban society encroach on their peace of mind. I believe that as they mature and master the skills needed for roughing it outdoors - without the conveniences of modern plumbing, electricity and communications that we've come to rely on so heavily - they will gain an added sense of self worth that nothing else can match, and no one can take away.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Kathy Love
Assistant Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Director - Dickson Stauffer
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Composition - Kevin Binkley
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Paul Childress
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Staff Writer - Charlotte Overby
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer