There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather

Even the most extreme weather doesn’t have to keep you inside.

During North Texas winters, as we enjoy balmy days near 70˚ and simultaneously brace for freezing cold fronts, it’s easy to feel we live in a land of extremes. And perhaps we do. We know it’s possible to bake cookies in a car during summer, when we see asphalt run liquid. Yet we endure chap-your-whole-face dry cold and chill-you-to-the-bone wet cold. We endure floods; we suffer droughts. But I’d like to challenge us all with a Norwegian proverb:

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.

Not convinced? Check out this outdoor kindergarten in the arctic.

In the last decade, Norway, which is renowned for its education system, has increased its outdoor preschools by the hundreds. Yes, outdoor preschools. The school featured in the video increases students’ outdoor time until there are only 1 or 2 days a year the children aren’t outside for most of the day. And this is in a town which is snowbound for 6 months every year.

How do Norwegians whole-heartedly embrace their unique climate and ecosystem? And how can we?

What challenges does the weather in your area present to outdoor time? How can you deal with those challenges in a way that embraces your unique place and enhances others’ love of it?

Pointers from an outdoor preschool:

  • Taking refuge in a building is not the answer. Small mobile shelters are for rest time only. The best action, enjoyment, and learning is outside, in any weather.
  • Curriculum and standards are still key, and they’re enhanced by being outside.
  • Risk and reality are far more life-enhancing than artificial surroundings.
  • Adults set the tone. Our attitudes can influence others profoundly.

I think this last point is the most salient, and the most actionable. Even if you haven’t completely embraced your surroundings, you can keep from negatively influencing others just by keeping your mouth closed and letting others experience the outdoors without bias.

Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children – and the dogs? They know what snow’s made for. […] Any child loves rain if it’s allowed to go out and paddle about in it.  ~ C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

I recognize there’s more to dealing with cold than mind-over-matter. And I’ll address another challenge – dealing with heat – in a later entry. But let’s remember an important reason for regularly enjoying the outdoors, regardless of weather: familiarity leads to love, and love leads to preservation.

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