Congratulations to one of our youngest participants! Lily, a 3rdGrade student who lives in Central Tennessee, was awarded the Second Prize for the conversation that she had with her parents. She heard about the contest from her teacher and took the chance to sit down with her parents and talk about why they all love exploring in the great outdoors. When talking with her parents Lily summed up why she likes to Come Alive Outside, “I like being outdoors so much because indoors you just don’t have the room. You could be in the biggest room in the world and it still isn’t as big as the outdoors.”
Lily: Did you play outside a lot when you were young and what type of games did you play?
Daddy: Yeah, so I played outside constantly when I was little. I think what I played outside most when I was little was hide & seek and tag. We explored out in the woods. We played Cowboys and Indians and Kung Fu. We just chased each other all the time!
Mommy: My favorite thing about being outside was that we could just play outside all day long.
Lily: Why do you like being outside so much?
Mommy: My favorite thing about being outside are all the colors I get to see. Like I love the smell of being outside. I love the smell of fresh cut grass. I love the smell of wet dirt after it rains.
Lily interrupts: Me too!
Mommy: I just love all the smells of being outside in the fresh air.
Daddy: I love being outside because it really just helps me feel connected to the earth, the whole world. It reminds me that we are all here for a purpose. We all have to be and exist in the same space. I don’t always feel that when I’m inside. When I’m inside I feel just sort of like I’m in my world, but when I’m outside I feel like part of the whole world.
Lily: Yeah, me too.
Lily: How has it changed since you were young?
Daddy: Hmm. I think the biggest change, at least for me, is that when I was young, for whatever reason it was okay for us to go and explore more. Mommy & I talk about this all the time for you & Paisley. You guys don’t get to explore the way we did, on your own, without us as parents being with you or nearby, or knowing what you are doing all the time. and that’s the biggest change. We got to explore for hours on our own.
Mommy: I just had to make sure I was home by the time the street lights came on in the evening. I was okay exploring with my friends all day as long as I was home in time for supper.
Lily: What would you like Paisley and I to experience outdoors?
Mommy: I love for you & Paisley to relax outside and enjoy your time without having to accomplish anything specific. Just sit beside our creek and daydream or write stories. or go explore under a rock because it looks like an interesting rock. I don’t want you to always feel like you are on a time schedule constantly.
Daddy: Yeah so, kind of like Mommy is saying: a sense of freedom, exploration and adventure. I love that you girls love to play in the dirt and that you love to play in the water. You love to go hiking and exploring and those are just awesome things. And camping! I’d love for us to experience more camping now that you girls are older. Especially Paisley, she’s big enough now. You eally feel like you are outdoors when you explore outdoors and you sleep outdoors.
Lily: This just popped into my head. Why do you like exploring?
Mommy: You know how you like to play pretend alot? You and Paisley play pretend about playing teacher or going to the store, stuff like that? Well when you play outside, you can be so many more things than that. You don’t need alot of accessories. You don’t need high heels, or a purse. You can just let your imagination run wild and be in a completely different place in time just the way you think it would be. You can pretend to be a pioneer woman out back in the days when they didn’t have cars.
Lily: Like during the gold rush?
Lily: Or on the Oregon Trail?
Mommy: Right. You use what you are learning in school and play it out to really feel what it was like.
Daddy: So I think the reason I enjoy exploring so much is that I always had the sense that I might discover something that no one else had discovered before I think what I was really discovering was myself, and that is something no one else had discovered before which makes that so adventurous.
Daddy: Can we ask you questions?
Lily: I guess
Daddy: Well what is it that interests you in being outdoors? I mean you are quite the outdoors person. You like to go out and play in the sunshine, you like to play in the dirt and play in the water. You’re a swimmer, you don’t care if it’s a lake or the ocean or a pool. You just like to swim. So what is it that excites you about being outdoors?
Lily: Well I just like being outside and feeling like I have room, to do whatever I want.
Mommy: How about the mud we walked through today? The way it gooshed between our toes? How did that feel?
Lily: Oh yeah! That was awesome! It was so much fun. That is why I like being outdoors so much because indoors you just don’t have the room. You could be in the biggest room in the world and it still isn’t as big as the outdoors. So I like being outdoors because you have more space.
Daddy: And yeah, you know something I think is neat about that? It helps me to remember that I’m small. It’s important to remember that we individually are not too big. We are really small and we are here to support something bigger. We are here to play a part in a bigger plan and I think I remember that best and appreciate that most when I’m outdoors.
Daddy: Will you spend more time in the future outdoors or will you spend more time indoors?
Daddy: So one last question. Do you think having parents who like being outdoors and exploring the outdoors as helped you to appreciate being outside?
Lily: Absolutely! Thank you!