I enjoy the notion of nature journaling. Perusing other people’s gorgeous collections of art, admiring their hard work and artistic abilities is a hobby. Unfortunately, the minute I ask my children to pick up a pencil, all joy is lost. Which causes me to ask, just how important is nature journaling?
This is not something we started from infancy. This was not a mom hobby. Oh, I like looking. But I’m not one of those awesomely passionate moms who’ve been journaling for years and my children just naturally pick this up. That would be nice. No, I’ve only started having an appreciation for nature journaling in the last few years and my kiddos are still catching up.
I think our problem derived from a forced study of nature. “Here is a flower. Now draw it.” While I would attempt to coerce them into seeing the beauty of the flower – which wasn’t too hard – the moment I pointed to blank paper, this became another chore on their list. No longer was this fun and creative, it was homework.
Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion I should still carry our journals on trips as often as possible. I will make a point of taking time to stop for the purpose of journaling. But instead of forced participation, I will pull out my own and start to doodle. They are free to join in or simply enjoy God’s creation. If He leads, they will follow.
We’ve also adapted the notion of nature journaling to fit our needs. At times my children enjoy drawing, at others they would rather collect specimen and write about them. To this end, we carry tiny plastic bags which our children can glue into their journals with notations made beside each item. They collect flowers, seeds, sticks, and more. (Obviously this method does not work with creatures, but we take pictures of those and journal about them later.) With the freedom to choose their favored method, they are once again experiencing joy in this activity.
Whether or not our children choose to journal, I make a point of leading our children to God through His creation. I might not take time for a full lesson on the parts of a flower or the levels of a tide pool, but I am sure to express joy and awe in the colors God has chosen to use, the intricacy of the tiniest creatures, and the obvious design in everything. I am not nagging. This is not an assignment. This is true exploration and appreciation by leading my children to God.
I am inspired by the many women I see online, and in person, who take time to journal at every opportunity. We share joy in seeing all those lovely illustrations crafted by multitudes of creative children. Through God’s leading, we are trying to find our own way to nature journaling. It’s going to look unique to our family’s needs and that’s just perfect. Journaling needs to be God centered and open to His leading. What’s truly important is seeing Him.
“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.”
Your Turn!: Do you like keeping a nature journal?