Experience The Nature of God
The air smelled of cedar trees as I hopped from rock to rock at the edge of Lake Huron in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I was ten years old and my family had been coming up here on vacation for years. We explored, fished, hiked, and played in the rugged beauty of the north woods. As I was about to jump to the next big rock, I looked up and saw a huge Bald Eagle flying over us – no more than 50 feet off the ground. My family and I stopped to watch it as it passed over and began to circle above us on the air currents. We kept watching as it rode the thermals into the sky until we could literally not see it anymore with the naked eye.
This little episode on our vacation left a big impression on me, but it wasn’t the only one. Growing up, we spent much of our time outside with many adventures and memorable wildlife encounters. All of these things shaped my worldview and ultimately my career. Today I’m a wildlife filmmaker, television host, children’s author, and wildlife educator.
As an educator, I’ve seen firsthand that my experience as a child is harder and harder to find these days. The statistics about children, their development, and the media are true. With iPods, iPads, smart phones, televisions, computers, and video games – our culture is saturated with screens and a false sense of reality. Children today spend 90% of their time indoors, with about seven hours a day in front of a computer or TV screen. Childhood obesity and other disorders resulting from inactivity and a loss of connection with nature are at an all-time high.
When children do get exposure to nature, it’s usually not personal or experiential. It’s passive, removed, and often in an academic setting and doomsday-oriented. Global warming, oil spills, endangered species, destruction of the rain forest, and the energy crisis – all adding to a child’s stress and anxiety about the natural world. So what are parents, grandparents, and educators to do who want to have their children connect with God’s creation in healthy, positive ways?
Issues like these lead me to create, write, and host “The Nature of God” series for Zondervan Publishing. Teaching a love and appreciation for God’s creation should be easy and fun for parents and educators. I wanted to create a series that families could use in various ways and settings to help their children connect with nature. In order to get children excited about nature, animals, and outdoor exploration – you first need to meet them where they are, in the media.
That’s why “The Nature of God” has six half-hour episodes on DVD that help children experience the majesty of our loving Creator, by exploring the wonder and design of His complex creation. Each DVD has a booklet on the inside that is a guide for parents to use with their children. With scripture, a note about how the episode can remind us of God’s character, quiz questions for the kids after watching, a conservation message, and activity ideas – you can turn watching “The Nature of God” into an interactive family event.
For Sunday school, home school, and Christian private school settings – the half-hour episodes are broken down into 12-minute videos with extra footage to use in a more educational setting. There are two curriculum DVDs that each have nine videos and printable lesson plans for church or school settings. The curriculum videos use scripture and highlight specific examples in each episode where we can be reminded of aspects of God’s character and His relationship to us. The printable lesson plans provide content for both faith lessons and science studies.