Stories from my personal journey learning about and delivering Nature-rooted programs across three different countries
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A while ago I was working with a teenage boy on building a fire. We'd only met minutes before starting our task of fire building, so I thought I'd try to break the ice by starting up a conversation. However, like a lot of teenagers, he'd reply to my questions with one word answers that would bring the conversation to an abrupt halt. I could sense he didn't really want to talk and was more than happy just working on the fire. And so it turned to silence as we gathered sticks, snapped them to size, and added them to the fire.
We did this for a number of minutes in a silence that many might consider awkward. I wondered at one point whether the silence was really okay. I didn't want him to think I didn't care about getting to know him. Was the silence preventing us from connecting? The more I thought about it, the more I decided this wasn't the case. We weren't talking, but were both still very much in tune with what each other was doing. We were working together because we had something meaningful to focus on (fire building is great for that). We were both fully present in the moment, undistracted by other people, our own thoughts, or, more commonly, our phones...
It reminded me of something a good friend of mine said once...
“There's no wifi in the woods, just lots of connection.”