Exploring the Wonders of the Earth

Develop an awe for beauty and a deep
appreciation for the Earth through reflection
time and direct interaction with nature.

"A seven-year-old child was asked by her teacher what she thought could be done in order to bring about peace on the planet. She thought for a long time and finally said, 'We could notice all of the people and all of the creatures and tell them how beautiful they are.' An international peace negotiator who addressed people from every culture at the Earth Summit gave a similar answer to the same question. He said, 'If we could see and really appreciate the beauty in the diversity all around us, we would be filled with too much wonder and awe to be concerned with conflict. We must become connoisseurs of beauty.' The Navajo people have a prayer that is recited in praise of the beauty that is teeming all around us:"

I walk with beauty before me.
I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty below me.
I walk with beauty all around me.
Your world is so beautiful, Oh God.

"There is no end to the beauty in the world for the person who is aware. Teaching children to develop the skill of awe brings them more in touch with themselves and with the Earth. Horticulturist Charles Lewis, who has been studying what he calls the people-plant connection for thirty years, said, 'A great deal of stress exists because we are out of touch with natural forces. In our efforts to control nature, we have cut ourselves off from the source.' There are two ways to become more attuned to the beauty around us with our children. The first is through reflection of nature, such as watching a sunset or listening to birds chirping, and the second is through direct interaction with nature, such as gardening or hiking."