Do you like how your children’s childhoods are going? Do you like how much time they spend outside?
If you haven’t thought about it too much, don’t worry. If you have or will soon have offspring, it is only a matter of time before you come across a caustic blog post, an article on AllMother.com, a caustic post on Instagram or in a Facebook group you follow, a lecture and a workshop by the eminent Dr. KnowItAll after whom you will feel like Josef Fritzl.
Of course you are NOT raising your children properly, they will tell you; “As it should be” will sometimes sound “as it used to be”. Once upon a time, children grew up healthier, they were more in nature, they were more outside, today’s parents have made small-minded morons out of their own children and are slowly but surely turning them into an evolutionary appendix.
They’ll tell you that you should be ashamed of being such a parent, but other than “sitting now and feeling guilty,” they generally won’t give you a lot of concrete ideas of what you could do to answer the questions at the beginning of this review in the affirmative.
A wild is a voice that never stops whispering.Daniel Crocker – THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER by Linda Åkeson McGurk
The author of this book, Linda Åkeson McGurk, grew up in Sweden, one of the northern European countries that are highly environmentally conscious and nurture a lifestyle, work, and even growing up and education, which are increasingly offered to us as those we would all should imitate.
As an adult woman, Linda Åkeson McGurk moved to the United States, to rural Indiana. Already as an adult walking everywhere, she aroused the astonishment of her fellow citizens, but only when she got her two children did she begin to notice the drastic differences between her own upbringing in Sweden and the upbringing of her daughters in America.
Children’s playgrounds, even on the sunniest days, whether working or non-working, were mostly empty and abandoned. Any weather forecast that would bring stronger wind, snow, rain would clear the streets of the already small number of pedestrians and cyclists; people were going everywhere in cars, complaining about times that completely prevented them from functioning normally.
Sweden, friluftsliv is generally defined as “physical activity outdoors to get a change of scenery and experience nature, with no pressure to achieve or compete.THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER by Linda Åkeson McGurk
Going to the nearby nature parks and national parks soon made it clear to her small family that staying in them is tolerated only if visitors strictly adhere to the beaten paths. Numerous, large and strikingly painted boards screaming “FORBIDDEN!” they interfered with any spontaneous interaction with nature. When at one point she almost received a police report for disturbing public order and peace because her children were playing in a local fountain, the author realized that the connection between man and nature, especially children and nature, was dangerously broken, and that unstructured play in nature is seriously endangered.
Or did it just seem to her? Surprised, a little appalled and confused, the author decided to spend some time with her daughters in Sweden and see if the kilometers, culture and climate are the ones that make the difference between man, child and nature, or if some other, more anxious, worried simply appeared less spontaneous times, when overprotecting children became the only acceptable mode of upbringing.
As a parent, a great way to support them is simply to spend a lot of time outside, ask open-ended questions, and encourage your child’s innate curiosity and willingness to investigate.THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER by Linda Åkeson McGurk
The book “There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather” is the result of the author’s stay in her native Sweden. In it, she describes her own research on this complex topic: whether children grow up differently in the US and Europe, why this is so, whether only parents are to blame for children growing up cut off from nature today, or even the state and laws deny man his right to nature?
The book also offers us answers (along with numbers and statistics) to a number of questionable questions from concerned parents; how safe my child is on the street, how safe my child is in the wild, should I be afraid of kidnapping, from what age children are allowed to go outside without adult supervision, what are the chances that my child will be seriously injured (or worse) while playing in nature, etc.
Another advantage of having less structured and more child-led activities is that it can improve children’s executive functioning. Essentially, this makes them better able to delay gratification, show self-control, and set and reach their own goals.THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER by Linda Åkeson McGurk
The author also explains why it is IMPORTANT – for us, for children’s development, for the development of society, but (and this is ESPECIALLY important) for the health and future of our planet – to renew the relationship with nature.
Finally, the author offers us roadmaps and guidelines, based on the traditions and practices of the culture in which she grew up, to return nature (and games in nature) to children; how to accurately dress and equip children to stay outside at certain temperatures and at certain times, how to distinguish between real and imagined dangers when staying in nature. Throughout the book, the author also leaves us a rich list of recommendations where to look for additional information and ideas about the benefits of a constructive relationship between man and nature.
We see childhood as an important part of a human’s life and not as a race to adulthood. We believe and respect the fact that children have the right to a happy childhood.THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER by Linda Åkeson McGurk
Every now and then, articles and interviews with prominent doctors and psychologists are circulating on the Internet, expressing opinions about the health and resilience of today’s children.
Certainly, a lot is learned from such articles and interviews, and sooner or later, it all comes down to very pessimistic forecasts and well-disguised criticism of today’s parents. Your children are sick today (and getting sicker) because this and that and that, and ESPECIALLY you are doing it wrong. I repeat, very few articles and publications offer parents concrete ideas and solutions that they can fit into their own lives and jobs as they are today.
Yes, there are many contents and sources on the Internet that say “how to ___________in a healthy and ecological way” (insert as needed: “feed the child”, “follow the child”, “clean the house”, “stimulate the development of brain, speech, sensory, motor skills , empathy ”, etc.), but somehow around such articles hangs the inaudible“ because it is the only right way ”and“ ME and MY CHILD do it properly, and if you don’t do it, don’t try hard enough and because of people like you we are all fucked up today ”.
Well, that’s exactly what this wonderful book doesn’t do; it does not threaten with a stick, it does not point a finger at a single culprit – a parent, it does not call anyone an incompetent and lazy jerk. This book informs and educates – and shows us exactly how to inform and educate – so that parents truly understand the importance of the topics the book talks about and feel proud to be able to take concrete steps, according to their own current circumstances and capabilities, to bring them closer to their own child and nature to the mutual benefit and satisfaction.
There is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing.Norwegian Quote
This is exactly the value and beauty of this book – it is full of useful ideas, instructions, suggestions and recommendations. Reading the book, you realize that ALWAYS, no matter how much the circumstances (illness, lack of time and money, living in the “wrong” climate) at some point in life did not go our way, there is at least SOMETHING you can do.
This is not another book that will entice you to buy it by first grilling you with guilt and convincing you that you are a failure of your parents, and then promising you that it is she who offers you relief from such feelings. This book doesn’t attack your parental emotions and sense of worth at all; it just, I repeat, offers a bunch of useful suggestions and ideas on how to make friends with nature again.
One of the most interesting topics covered in this book is the one that bothers all of us “modern” parents today – what to do with children and those damn screens? Should they be banned from mobile phones, tablets, laptops and access to online content until they reach the age of majority?
Pretty much every new technology that has revolutionized our everyday life has been followed with some kind of moral panic, especially when it comes how will affect our children…THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER by Linda Åkeson McGurk
One should really ask the Swedes; the upbringing and education of their children (and the children of their Scandinavian neighbors) are being pushed into our throats as ideal, as the only ones to be emulated today. You should really ask the Swedes how they do it; the same ones Swedes who developed Candy Crush Saga, Minecraft, Spotify and Skype.
This book is really noteworthy and I heartily recommend it to you.
6 thoughts on “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER by Linda Åkeson McGurk”
This is super interesting!! I dont have kids myself yet but I do work with them through girlguiding and I definitely think that kids nowadays need to spend more time outside! There are 8 year olds with their own iphones and social media accounts which is terrifying but also just plain sad. When i was their age which really was not many years ago at all being only 19 myself I was outside in the garden with my sister playing, or biking around the street I lived on. But the issue is that nowadays society makes it so much harder!! So many places don’t want you to be on the grass, or councils can’t be bothered to maintain the playgrounds. Its not as safe to let your children play outside in the street anymore and you take them to public places and people will tut and huff about them making noise while they play. It’s no wonder we allow our children to spend most of their time in the digital world! I’m definitely going to have to check this book out because its a very interesting topic. Xxx
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I’ve done quite a bit of research and read a few books about Scandinavian way of life and it really does seem beautiful and so much healthier. I remember spending quite a lot of time playing outside as a kid, I had a couple of friends who lives down my road and we’d always play out as we lived right next door to a park. If / when I have kids, I’d like to encourage them to get outside more. They sure as heck aren’t getting a phone at a young age!
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I don’t have children myself (nor are they on the near horizon) but this feels like such important advice. As biological animals, we’ve unnaturally severed our ties with the environment, which can be detrimental to nature, but also our mental health. It sounds like an incredible book!
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I think the Scandinavian’s way of life just seems to be so wonderful. I do love being outdoors with my family but I long for them to have the childhood I did. One of freedom and open spaces. We live on a very very busy road now and there is no outdoor space for them to really explore. We do try to get out at the weekends. Climbing trees, exploring and creating adventure is when they are at their happiest x
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I have a son and we love being outdoors!! Now, in the wintertime, because of my fibromyalgia, we stay indoors. But boy, do we miss it outside. I think being outdoors awakens childrens minds and hearts to nature, life, and exploring skills. I dont have this book, but now will look into getting it! Thanks for sharing
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I haven’t read this book but I agree with what you’ve highlighted here. I have experience raising children in an American city as well as the Irish countryside. Children in Ireland have far more freedom, which is one of the reasons we moved here. As long as you buy appropriate waterproof clothes and boots, you can enjoy the outdoors. We’re surrounded by natural beauty and have a great love of the outdoors. Screens aren’t an issue when you’re busy hiking, kayaking, and camping in beautiful places. 🌟
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