Reading something Richard Louv wrote recently inspired me to write the post from which this is excerpted.
Perseverance, discipline, responsibility and independence are learned skills. I will differentiate skills from knowledge in that knowledge can be contained in books whereas skills are learned only by doing and usually by trial and error. The process of acquiring skills is, I think, hugely important to the development of people. In the process of acquiring other skills, like playing an instrument, baking, or building a car for example, you pick up side skills along the way. These side skills include, but aren't necessarily limited to, perseverance, discipline, responsibility and independence. ...
So what does this have to do with nature? A lot, actually. The children I am seeing have grown up in controlled environments and have spent more time in structured play than in imaginative free play. When I ask them what they do with their free time they say they play video games--rules are fixed and immutable, watch DVDs--a completely passive activity, go to movies or shop--consumptive and passive. Please do not think that I believe that there is no role for this technology. None of these activities are intrinsically bad in and of themselves. I just think that structured play needs to be balanced with a hefty dose of unstructured free roaming play. I believe this more strongly because of the response I get if I ask if my students play outside: they say "it's too hot and too boring." These kids don't know how to make their own constructive fun because they have never had to.
Read the rest at TheNatureSchool