Our Wooded World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I am the youngest in a family of ten children, all of whom grew up having an energetic and active ichildhood. Our elementary school days were spent outside from the moment we got home until dusk, and often well after. We grew up in the world of the neighboring woods; climbing trees, smoothing paths with our frequent running, and appreciating the enjoyment in every fallen log we walked on, every leaf pile into which we jumped, and every briar with which we spelled words on our shirts and coats. Now a sophomore in high school, as a cross country runner, I still run these paths with my six brothers.

Today's children, however, enjoy a far less active lifestyle. Daytime television, not allowed during our childhood, is routine for most children today. Whatever adventures they play outside are generally the result of television viewing rather than the use of their unlimited imaginations. Outside, they view the leaves, the trees, and exercise as scratchy annoyances; scrapes and bruises are too dirty and gritty for them. Soon, they will learn to take care of themselves, make money, and become independent and efficient. Inevitably, they will find their own forms of enjoyment, most likely indoors, more "mature" pastimes. They will never have felt the physical exhilaration of sprinting at full speed down a leaf-covered path, climbing to the highest branch of a tree and feeling the clear, hot breeze, or jumping from a branch into a pile of leaves and finding themselves afloat in its natural cushion. It is no wonder, then, that someday those woods will be bulldozed for their real estate value.

Today's children will someday have the world in their hands, and if they were never taught to appreciate the outdoors, it, too, will be bulldozed. Television may not directly be the evil behind their confined lifestyle, but we must teach our children to appreciate the world beyond the glowing images on the glassy screen. The beautiful world where we live may someday be no more than a historical television show. If all we have taught our children is this inactive, indoor lifestyle, how can we reasonably complain as the world is neglected? n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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