My favorite city in the world is Portland Oregon, and I can say that pretty fairly because I have lived in quite a few cities. I can’t live there though. I crave the sunshine too much. After one or two days of solid grey skies I start to get sad, and Portland often has far more than just a few cloudy days in a row. Living in Florida, I get to walk outside almost every single day, and give thanks for the gorgeous beautiful sunshine. I think about sunshine quite a lot too, and I pay attention to all of the amazing things that it can do. Living here, I feel like a lot of my friends and neighbors hide from the sun. I know a lot of people who set their air conditioners to arctic temperatures at home. I take a sweater with me when I know that I am going to be inside anywhere besides my own house here in Florida. I have even been scolded for getting too much sun more than once.
The picture shown here is one of me at my most tan, and I think that it is a sad excuse for a tan, but I know that I am pretty white to begin with. The thing is that I am not too eficient at absorbing nutrients through my stomach, so the idea that I can get free D vitamins any time that I like, is a really attractive one. I like to get out in the sun, and get out in it often. I honestly think that it is really sad the way in which we have all adopted a total rejection of the sun at this point. I feel like after everybody went really overboard when I was a kid in the eighties, and fried the bejebers out of their skin, they set the rest of us up to be scared to death of sun exposure. I am not though, and I don’t want for my kids to be. I am not saying that when we are out at the beach, or outside in the sun for an extended period of time, that we don’t put on sunscreen. I am almost always wearing a hat outside myself, but I do think that a good thirty minutes of uninhibited sun exposure is a really healthy thing.
When my daughter was in kindergarten in public school, I was recruited by her wonderful teacher as a room mother for the class. I remember sitting in that tiny, artificially lit, stinky, kid packed room. All that I could do was think ahead to the time that we could take the children out for recess, and get them out in the sunshine to burn off all of the germs that they had spent the day passing around to each other. We were lucky to be in Florida where we could get them outside on most schooldays. I cannot imagine what it must be like in places where it is too cold in the winter for the kids to play outside. They need that sunshine after being cooped up inside for hours. In studying about biological dentistry, I learned that sunshine is actually really good for teeth. From what I understand, full spectrum light can be really orally healing. I actually suggested to my daughter that she should go and stand out in the sunshine for a few minutes every day with her mouth open. She thinks that I am really funny.
We are living in a strange time for parenting, and it can be really hard to know what is the best thing for our kids. We are afraid of the predators who lurk outdoors, so we tend to pull the kiddos inside where we can keep them safe, and then they end up glued to electronic devices for entertainment. I even have friends with kids that have as many allergies as I do, and they are reluctant to get them out in all of the pollen and grass outside, because they know the result. I think that in general we have shifted a little too far away from knowing how good for us some sunshine can be though. I am certainly not advising anyone to go out there and get burnt, but maybe we need to start questioning ourselves about whether or not we are really getting or daily dose of sunshine.