Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers

Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers  is the only parenting magazine I read.  The most recent issue, which I am anxiously awaiting, lives up to it's reputation for original thought and critical analysis of any parenting "movements".  The essay Guilt Trip into the Woods: Do kids really need nature? by Martha Nichols serves as a welcome breath of fresh air for those of us embroiled in guilt over TV, video games, social media and "nature deficit disorder."

Don't get me wrong; I am a huge fan of Richard Louv and the No Child Left Inside movement, as my prior post attests.  I fully intend on taking my kids backpacking in the Sierra Nevada, cross-country skiing in northern Michigan, and paddling on the Clinton River as much as possible. But I appreciate tempering the ideal with the real, and passages from Nichol's essay such as the following resonate:
No parent believes kids should sit in front of a computer 24/7.  But I can’t help but feel irked by the hyperbole in statements like, “To take nature and natural play away from children may be tantamount to withholding oxygen.” And I object strongly to the assumptions behind Louv’s message. As a feminist and white adoptive mom of an Asian son, I’m disturbed by the belief that what’s “natural” is always best for kids. This feels like ’60s nostalgia—the kind that wishes women’s liberation and the Internet hadn’t ever come along to mess things up. 
Hurrah Brain, Child, for earning my subscription fee.

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