But…(See--it’s not only our children who raise objections!)
The difficulty I have is in fully understanding and applying this theory to complex, everyday reality. I will allow my kids not to wear a jacket if they don’t want to—though I will generally warn them that I think it’s a bad idea, since it may get chillier later in the day. Likewise, if they take excessive (but not insane) risks on the playground, I’ll let them. But often, letting nature take its course is a complex arena—and one that always entails rather significant intervention from yours truly.
Take the other day. My eldest child (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty), came home without her reading anthology. An anthology which, among other things, includes a glossary in the back. She had to write the definitions of a series of words. But, sans glossary, that was a bit tricky to do. Undaunted for once, I reminded said child that she had a dictionary she could use. She got it right out and started looking. Only, she doesn’t know how to use a dictionary, and I had forgotten how many steps there are to using one. Fortunately, there were only about 5 words, but they took what seemed like a lifetime, after reviewing alphabetical order, the use of guide words at the top of the page and so forth. While this may be encouraging her to understand the natural consequences of her actions, it seemed to place more of the burden on me than many other scenarios. This is fine if it’s actually helpful to her in the long run, but it reminds me of how complicated it is to understand what “natural” is—let alone what it means in practice (a theme which is frighteningly close to my dissertation topic….)