Nature-deficit disorder, as coined by American author Richard Louv, should be adopted as a scientific term. Research shows spending time outside delivers mental and physical health benefits, makes people feel more relaxed, less stressed, more invigorated and gives them a break from the pressures in their daily lives. Despite 55% of Canadians believing that nature relaxes them, a full 56% of Canadians feel they don’t get enough outdoor time. Ugh. Sure, we can blame technology, full calendars, or gross weather. But in the end, I would go even further. I believe that we not only have a tendency to place a higher value on structured activities as opposed to free play. But I also think that we avoid the unknown. A minute-by-minute schedule is comforting, somehow, and once it’s all done, we feel accomplished and successful. Going off to search for a four leaf clover that may never materialize is comparatively frightening. Without teaching or kids to venture into the unknown, however – without the safety net of the construct of a video game or piano lesson – we are failing them. Ourselves too.