Happy September! Happy new school year and happiest of all we have new children, new meetings and new opportunities to share Christ and the Church. I love September. I love new pencils, empty notebooks needed to be filled and the cool air and leaves falling. I also will admit I love it because it is my birthday month!
In light of our commitment to help you be the best leaders you can be, we've decided to tackle the great outdoors for a few newsletters to help you get out and enjoy God's creation - especially as the weather cools down but doesn't get too cold.
Exploring the great outdoors is something all of us should do regardless of our love for dirt, trees and animals. This might be a struggle as we might feel more comfortable in our homes. Let's be honest, we're unlikely to get bitten by a bug, catch a rash from a simple plant or sweat and get dirty inside our clean and bugfree homes. But let's also be honest while we don't like the bites and the rashes; getting sweaty and dirty, especially with our children, is almost always more fun than sitting inside watching another movie.
We were born in a garden after all. Not us specifically but our first parents, Adam and Eve, were born in the garden designed by God himself. The first two chapter of the Bible are all about the great outdoors He was making for us to enjoy: "God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good." (Gen. 1:31).
For us though, we may have discovered is not all good - be it those aforementioned bugs and rashes or allergies and unfamiliarity. In addition to these issues comes the very real struggle we have in today's culture to balance our enjoyment and celebration of the great outdoors with the increased worship of the environment. I do not dismiss this concern lightly. My own husband, whose expertise and work is in environmental policy, faces this balance every day. Our care for the earth - which God has commanded - is important but we must never value the earth and the environment more than every soul which inhabits it.
But, let's not get worried about those complicated discussions and just plan on getting our children and ourselves outside a bit more. From nature we can witness and learn so many of the virtues we hope to teach. From the patience and diligence of a gardener striving for a good harvest to the joy and eutrapelia of just being outside in the fresh air and sunshine. With every Little Flower virtue comes a flower and how wonderful if, sometimes, the girls might be able to see some of these flowers growing naturally. For the other groups, be it Blue Knights, Hospitality, or Honor Badge, being outside is always good for them - body and soul.
Getting outside can be as easy as making use of your back deck for snack or your back yard for games. It can be done by the teaching of faith in a garden full of sunflowers or learning industry through the clearing of a yard for an elderly neighbor. It can be the exploration of the outdoors through a more social outing to a local park.