Children from Canberra Quaker Regional Meeting, Canberra, ACT, Australia, painting stones that they then gave as gifts to places they felt needed some love and beauty. Photo by Wilma Davidson.

Children are deeply connected to nature.  They know that many places on the Earth are hurting, and they are disturbed by that and want to do something to help. Over the years, many RadJoy parents and teachers have discovered that, instead of trying to protect children from the many problems plaguing the trees, mountains, rivers, and city neighborhoods they love, they can give them the opportunity to do something to “make Mother Earth feel better,” as one mother put it.
Recently Wilma Davidson, an active member and blogger for Canberra Quaker Regional Meeting in Australia introduced some of the practices in Trebbe Johnson’s new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth’s Broken Places,  to the young members of the Children’s Programme she leads.
“This year our theme was the earth,” Wilma wrote. “It included a session in which children painted rocks and placed them in spots they felt needed love and care.” It was up to the children themselves to determine which places would receive their gifts.
When children can go to a hurt place and do something fun, adventurous, and creative there, they become more engaged in their world. And that means they’re on their way to becoming adults who will put a priority on protecting the places that are important to them.

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

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