Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv: A Critical thinking Book Review

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The "Last Child in the Woods" is a New York Times best-seller written by acclaimed American journalist Richard Louv. The book is an intentional intervention on developing concerns about parenting and the environment, which has been highlighted as a major issue as a major ingredient of first-world problems (Louv). For example, the author covers one of the incredible observative concepts on what he names "the nature deficiency disorder" in a comprehensive framework that helps the reader relate to and comprehend the nature of settings and how it affects child development by altering the parenting process. Therefore, this paper seeks to review some of the major influential concepts that the author emphasized on by use of literature as a tool to educate the society on issues affecting the development of their children

To begin with, Louv expresses his deep concerns over human detachment from nature. The influence on advancement in technology has impacted the lifestyles of people within their developed societies to dramatic extent that Louv deems to be dangerous (Duerden). For instance, according to Louv the increased accessibility to information through the readily accessible means supported by the advanced technology has intensively reduced a human to nature contact by worrying rates. The accessibility to readily available information through media and technology has transpired to lesser freedom to children in spending some self-time with nature under no supervision from their parent over fears of safety. Therefore, most of the children are reared indoors and in schools where they spend almost all of their early lifetime at the expense of nature exploration.

The reduced interaction between the nature and human beings in developed societies has been infectious as it has spread from the parents to their children (Duerden). As a result, the loss in touch of children to nature has led to the development of a new generation of less confident, less physical and mentally competent, and inactive children (Louv). For instance, the gradual rise in some children with obesity is a clear research evidence that Louv uses to justify his concept. Definitively, it is beyond doubts the rise in lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure and cancer among children in the United States is as a result of the nature deficit disorder as children have much time to eat inappropriate food regarding quantities and quality beyond their need. Therefore, given that children could be allowed to interact with nature, they would benefit immensely regarding their health as they would be engaged and stay active throughout as they play or explore the nature.

Secondly, Louv believes that nature is crucial to children as it offers them freedom, fantasy, and privacy. It is undoubtedly that nature is a source of freedom to children. For instance, nature presents a package of wonders and options that are guaranteed to cure interests of children. Moreover, nature is a place to be for every child that needs to unload the pressure of control and guidance from their parents and teachers (Bruyere et all.). Similar to adults, children require their space and time to reflect on their lives and one of the major ways through which children can experience a splendid moment of self-reflection is the midst of natural exploration as they tend to observe and learn what nature holds for them judging from the surrounding environment. Moreover, nature is ever magical in its way, and it is a fan to appreciate its constituent factors that affect human beings either directly or indirectly. Therefore, it is undisputable that Louv’s ideology on the importance of nature to children is factual.

Thirdly, Louv despises the current methods of parenting as he accuses them of over-parenting. The modern families have a lot of control on their children. For instance, some of the parents even control the destinies of their children as they choose career paths for their children even before they are underway with their elementary education (Louv). Besides, some of the parents choose to control the social lives by dictating to their children the people who they should or shouldn’t interact with, marry or befriend based on divisions of race, backgrounds, and social class. As a result, some parents are promoting prejudices and marginalization from one generation to another by passing such behaviors to children, hence compromising social justice. Therefore, it is evident over-parenting is real in first world societies, which is a huge blow to self-confidence, independence, and competence of the children because their lives are solely defined by their parents.

Moreover, Louv advocates for green urbanism. In his view, Louv believes that people have deviated from their indigenous way of life that ensured natural balance and symbiotic co-existence of people and animal kingdoms. Moreover, he despises the mode of learning whereby children are only theoretically involved in the study of nature as opposed to the traditional practical approach to learning that involves direct contact with children to their nature. As a result, he suggests the concept of green urbanism in Western Europe that will seek to recreate the suburb experience to children as they grow up (Duerden). Additionally, green urbanism is expected to support wildlife through the creation of parks, reservoirs, and wetlands as opposed to existing urbanization that supports the destruction of natural resources and extinction of nature. Also, green urbanism could be a great source of natural food basin that is rich in nutrients to curb the current menace of cancerous diseases facilitated by consumption of genetically modified food products.

From my personal and cultural perspectives point of view, Louv’s ideologies have strong basis but can be disputed by varying scopes opinionated approaches. For instance, from my cultural background, it is believed that parents should have control over their children as the parents are adult and knowledgeable. Therefore, my interpretation of the ideology of over-parenting is unclear to me because my culture appreciates the great role of parents in control of their children from great dangers of this evil world. Also, from my personal point of view, green urbanism is unrealizable as animals require an extensive control on their levels interaction with human beings. Secondly, wildlife needs less interference for co-existence to exist. Therefore, bringing wildlife close to densely populated areas characterized by intense human activities would eventually lead conflicts between human beings and wildlife.

From a social justice point of view, Louv’s concepts are resourceful in instilling justice socially. For instance, Louv discourages the impacts of over-parenting on children’s social lives. For instance, the issue of deprivation of the freedom to make choices and living a predetermined life, which might turn chaotic and unsuccessful in the future has been highlighted. Secondly, Louv advocates for freedom to leisure to the children as an important tool of allowing the children to enjoy their social privileges provided by nature. Therefore, the text is in full support of social justice for children and the community at large.

Conclusively, as seen from the discussion above the writer draws very clear concepts within the boundaries of external and internal environments that accommodate various factors affecting children, some of which are beyond and within the control of parents. Besides, the book exclusively uncovers major issues that have been affecting many of families in the American society specifically on issues regarding parenting (Louv). The ideologies identified call for an establishment of a regulatory action especially on matters affecting children since they hold the future of the society.

Work Cited

Bruyere, Brett, Tara Teel, and Peter Newman. "Response to “More Kids in the Woods: Reconnecting Americans with Nature.”" Journal of Forestry 107.7 (2009): 378-379.

Duerden, Mathew D. "Last Child in the Woods." Journal of Leisure Research 39.2 (2007): 388-392.

Louv, Richard. "The nature principle." Human restoration and the end of nature-deficit disorder. 1st ed. Chapel Hill (2011).

Louv, Richard. Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin Books, 2008.

May 17, 2023
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