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 Raising the Wild Child Connecting Kids to Nature story and photos by Ron Fournier
 “Don’t just tell children about the world, show them.”
~ Penny Whitehouse
In the last winter issue of West Coast Maine, I shared a glimpse of my family life through a knothole in the fence. It’s a bit of the backstory of how we ended up where we did, and some context about the challenges we faced raising a family in Western Maine, more specifically, in the wilds of the Maine woods.
There are lessons to be learned there, and I myself continue to learn, adapt, and change. Now, as grandparents, my wife and I get to witness the fruits of our labor from a new vantage point. When you see your own children now raising their own, you begin to see methods of parenting and lifestyles that are either very familiar, or in complete contrast, to what you envisioned. Every family is different, each child is unique, and situations vary widely, but one thing remains a constant: You have the ability to decide how to raise your child the way that you see best based on your beliefs, your interests, and your experience. I hope that involves the outdoors...
Building Blocks Come First
I believe children possess an instinct to be connected to the natural world.
A fascination with animals and direct contact with things such as dirt and beach sand and fallen leaves and frogs are examples of this. Yet we sometimes fill our young minds with manufactured experiences that may distract, and take the place of inquisitive, natural play. I’m not immune to this. I had an Atari 2600 when I was 12. I, too, was distracted at times, but prior to that I had countless hours, weeks, and even years of real experiences that I believe made me who I am today. I ran barefoot through the woods, built forts, and
Arts, Entertainment, Adventure and More in Western Maine

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