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nurturing wildlings

Kids bloom in self confidence, curiosity, and creativity when their wild is encouraged.

– Jamie –

cow loving calf

Parenting Outside the Lines

Gardeners & Engineers

I believe in parenting like a gardener. We nurture and tend, never truly knowing what lies within. We ask ourselves, “Are you strong like a sunflower? Delicate like a dandelion? Sweet and juicy like a peach? Sharp and soft like a rose?” We do our best to learn what each needs to thrive, carefully watching and asking them to show us the way. We are relentless in our pursuit of knowing them.

Somewhere along the way, the world began to tell us that parents are to be engineers, responsible for the design and creation of their children. We responded by implementing schedules filled with enrichment activities and rote academics. We removed freedom and risk, deciding them incapable of self-management.

Engineering is suffocating and it’s stealing our joy and their childhood. In the engineering worldview, the parent creates and the child fulfills. Imagine the frustration of trying to make a tomato seed grow into a pumpkin? Or a redwood’s defeat when pushed to grow at the speed of grass? The pressure on parents to engineer is real and we must work to reject it.

Cultivate Their Wild

free to grow

This book beautifully illustrates the concept of kids as unique seeds that need nurturing, not taming. I highly recommend it for the whole family’s enjoyment. Who says philosophy can’t come from picture books?

14. Mrs. Spitzer's Garden

the best thing about Kids? They wash.

Jamie children cyclingjpeg

As a teacher, I’ve witnessed profound learning and growth take place when adults step back and allow kids to explore and create in messy, independent, unrestrained, and uninterrupted time outside. Research backs up this observation tenfold (Learn more here). Kids bloom in self-confidence, curiosity, and creativity when their wild is encouraged. I nickname my kids “wildlings” because that descriptor reminds me to bench my inner-engineer.

My own childhood was a whirlwind of rock stews, farm chores, roaming walks with loyal dogs, and many many lessons taught by nature. My wild was fanned like an ember. As it grew, so did my confidence to dream, fail, and create. After you’ve found yourself in a muddy pasture, boots so suctioned down in muck you have to walk home in your socks, your young mind begins to believe everything may be figureoutable, survivable, and intruiging.

Jame Childhood

Bench the Engineer

Anyone can nurture their wild

Let this site nurture your gardener, reject your engineer, and fan the embers of your own wildlings. You don’t need acreage or farm animals in order to nurture children through nature and time spent outside.

Subscribe to the LMO Newsletter to read our top tips for creating your own Little Moments Outside and receive our free download, “Five Easy Ways to Connect Kids with Nature.”

Jamie children

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