I have always enjoyed taking walks with my kids and teaching them the names of the flowers. Nature study is an integral part of many homeschools. We call it science. It can be as simple as taking walks outside with our kids and talking about what we see. It can be as complex as keeping nature journals and drawing pictures and taking notes of what we observe. Recently, I realized that nature study can be very beneficial for moms (and dads, too.) As an adult, I may not be concerned with the botanical name, or how many petals the flower has, but nature has much to teach me.
Nature teaches trust
When I spend time outside, listening to the birds and delighting in the beauty of the flowers, I learn the simple, yet difficult, lesson of trust. I encourage you to spend some time outside while reading Matthew 6. Those flowers, growing so gracefully and effortlessly, rely solely on their Creator for sustenance. They don’t worry about tomorrow. They just bloom and grow. Do you struggle with worry? Do you have a hard time trusting your Father with your future plans? Look no further than the meadow flowers. They have a lesson of trust to teach you, if you will take the time to listen.
Nature teaches nurture
The birds are particularly good at teaching this lesson. Have you ever had the opportunity to observe a mama bird and her babies? She works hard to build a safe, secure, comfy home for her little ones. She carefully “prepares” their food to make sure it is digestible. She protects them from predators. She instinctively nurtures her babies to help them thrive. Look for opportunities to watch the birds, so you can learn from them. They aren’t comparing themselves to other birds. They aren’t reading manuals on how to hatch and raise baby birds. They are simply doing what YHVH put in them, which is to nurture their babies. Learn from the birds, and don’t be afraid to follow their example. Cuddle your little ones more. Hug them more. Play with them more. Listen to them more. Relationship and connection with your child is not spoiling. It’s absolutely necessary for their growth.
Nature teaches timeliness
It is unavoidable to learn the value of numbering our days if we spend any time outside. We marvel at the passing of the seasons. We observe life and death at our feet. The beautiful flowers are here today, and withered tomorrow. We are only allowed a certain amount of time on this earth. We would do well to use our days wisely, as well as embrace the natural ebbs and flows of life. Life is full of seasons, ups and downs, busy days, and quiet days. We are wise to be present now, and plan for the future as well.
Nature teaches productivity
Psalm 1 gives an amazing picture of productivity and success, and the picture was taken outside! We have an apple orchard by our house. In the spring, we see soft, fluffy, pink blossoms, and in the fall, we see round, shiny apples. The apples are what we are really after, not the leaves, or even the blossoms. We want the fruit. In Scripture, fruit is valued as well. Have you read Galatians 5:22-23? We are expected to produce fruit in our lives. We are expected to become more like our Creator each day. Each time you look at a piece of fruit, or are able to spend time in an orchard, take time to evaluate yourself. Are you producing lasting fruit in your life?
These are a few obvious lessons nature has to teach us at any age. One amazing thing about Scripture is how visual it is. It is full of spiritual lessons that we are able to learn because the visual aid is right outside. If you have been taking nature walks with your children, you have made a great start. Now, take it up to the next level and begin looking for the spiritual secrets in nature. Don’t just look at it as an opportunity to teach your children. Look at it as an opportunity to grow yourself. And I dare you to not go find an anthill after reading the verse that starts with “Go to the ant…” Bonus points if your nature journal also contains the spiritual lessons you learned while walking among the flowers with your children.