Real life is all improv.
Human beings have pattern seeking intelligence. We feel most secure and safe when we know what to expect, and this is so utterly consistent in human behaviour that even when the expected is basically terrible, we tend on the whole to shy away from the unfamiliar. Perhaps that’s why we often crave a comfortingly familiar, carefully controlled and scripted concept of our reality. From personal rituals like the way we brush our teeth and prepare for bed, to the Netflix we were glued to into the wee hours before we get to that point, many things in our world are carefully ordered and designed according to a plan.
The entire universe that we inhabit, though: not so much. The glorious dance of evolution and nature is a messy chaotic process, the butterfly effect writ large across genomes and ecosystems and eons. Real life doesn’t operate according to a script. It has rules that you can’t break, sure, like the laws of physics, but they leave an awful lot of wiggle room for the unexpected. It can surprise you.
Success in life, particularly in a crisis, is very often a matter of rolling with the punches, adapting to the unexpected, and flying by the seat of your pants.
Once we get out of the straightjacket of wanting to control everything and surf the waves of that chaos, it can be exhilarating. Also sometimes terrifying, but you can’t invite the exhilarating without accepting the occasional arrival of the unknowable along the way.
Kids need to be outside.
Spending time in nature encourages creativity, improvisation, reason, language skills, and problem solving. I believe that much of the intractability of our myopic politics stems in part from our disconnection from the natural world, and a subsequently inflated belief that our existence is, or should be, controllable.
Unlike your living room, the big world outside can’t be sanitized or bowdlerized. You can’t put rubber bumpers on all the sharp corners to prevent ouchies. That’s actually crucial for certain kinds of intellectual development. For children to develop effective risk management tools, they need to experience risks. Good problem solving skills only manifest through hands-on practice at facing problems, the same way that no toddler…