Scott Sampson’s How to Raise a Wild Child affirms what I have long felt but couldn’t explain: All of us, especially kids, need to connect with nature in all sorts of ways, large and small. He lays out the arguments for connecting children with the natural world and gives lots of examples to follow.

I guess the simplest thing to do is to make sure our children and grandchildren have lots of chances to go outside and get dirty! Maybe in this day and age we no longer send them outside alone to play, but we can go out with them. Doctors even write prescriptons for park visits. Do we really need to wait for that?

Bonus! Sampson’s book closes with one of my favorite poems, by Ranier Maria Rilke:

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

Happy New Year!

Look at your public library or bookstore for Samson’s book. His website is