I cannot recommend this book enough! It is something I believe not only every parent, but every educator and even every law maker should read. We all know that we have problems with obesity, technology addiction, problems with social interactions, climate change and much more but I believe this book offers a very simple solution to these problems; take your children outdoors. This sounds utterly simply and in fact it is, the premise of this book is that the author is from Sweden, meets and marries a man and together they move to the United States where they have two daughters. We see as the author tried to raise her children the same way that she was raised but continually runs into roadblocks, sometimes from well meaning people and other times from outdated laws.
Linda’s father must have surgery and she takes her girls home to Sweden with her while she cares for him for 6 months. During this time her girls are put into school and begin to learn the nature centered way of life that Sweden has embraced. Through the process she watches as her girls, who by American standards were outdoorsy become children who use no technology, meet with groups of friends and explore the outdoors until parents call them home and who gain a love for the environment.
We are offered a glace into how Sweden has set up it’s cities to limit the use of cars and promote public transit or walking, schools that don’t force learning and provide hours of outdoor play (which has translated into higher test scores, and better mental health for the children). Schools also offer challenged to the kids to reduce food waste and teach them about zero waste and other environmental issues, thus creating informed citizens. And a culture that trusts it’s citizens and doesn’t live in fear of kidnappings, not that they don’t happen there as here but this doesn’t cause parents to live in fear and put their child into a protective bubble. Sports aren’t pushed on children and free time for both adults and children is something everyone tries to achieve.
If there is one thing to take away after reading this book it is that “there is no such thing as bad weather”, meaning no matter the weather let you kids go outside, let them play, explore and learn in nature and we will all benefit from it.