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“Mother Nature” and “Father Time” – Who Is More Powerful?

The kitchen ceiling has sprung a leak, and water is dripping into buckets. Inclement weather has damaged my roof, courtesy of “Mother Nature.” That part of the roof is old, thanks to “Father Time.” They’ve joined forces to remind me that even in my safe haven—where I bake muffins and sip hot tea—I’m still vulnerable to their whims. Lest I forget who’s boss.


When we speak to children about “Mother Nature,” it’s often in appreciative terms. We tend to talk of fragrant flowers in vibrant colours; towering trees with soft ground beneath; rock formations that sparkle as sunlight glistens off granite; and birds that soar and sing merrily from above. These are comforting images that children can see, experience, and learn from as well.

When (or if) we mention “Father Time,” it’s typically in relation to an occasion or rite of passage. It may be celebratory like a birthday or a new year, or sad like the loss of a loved one. Time represents a way of measuring days, weeks, and years. It’s the difference between youth and age, naivete and wisdom. Time enables growth, learning, and reflection.

Ask children to draw “Mother Nature” and they’ll likely oblige with a picture of a lovely lady surrounded by lush greenery. Ask them to draw “Father Time” and you’ll probably get a clock with or without an elderly man hovering nearby. Ask them who is more important, and their creative responses may surprise you.


Children may also be aware that although “Mother Nature” and “Father Time” are ethereal figures (not “real” people) they possess shadowy sides. They are oblivious to words and know no boundaries.

“Mother Nature” brings much joy but she also orchestrates thunder storms with driving rain and lightning; volcanoes erupting with fiery lava; earthquakes that cause the ground to crack and shudder; and avalanches that cascade downhill in waves of snow and mist.

“Father Time” is responsible for the passing of yesterdays; the swell of responsibilities as individuals progress through stages of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; the inescapable aging of people and things we hold dear; and the wrinkles that appear on grandparents’ loving faces and outstretched arms.

These are inevitable aspects of life, and they help us understand that every day is a gift. “Mother Nature” may decide that in any particular corner of the world—perhaps your neighbourhood or backyard—it will be a day of wonder, pleasure, or creative inspiration. Or it may be a day of awe tinged with a dire warning to take care and be more respectful of the forces that she can yield.

“Father Time” may also signal that it’s a day to pay closer attention to what we do (exercise, play, work hard, embrace) because those 1440 minutes cannot be retrieved, and there’s no knowing what tomorrow has in store.


Discuss the mighty influences of nature and time with children, at a level they can understand. Encourage them to be aware of how these forces can alter lives, often for the good and for greater fulfilment but sometimes with variable or less desirable consequences, too. Help children learn to be considerate of the world around them, to think of others, and to build their own capacities so as to be strong and able to fully enjoy the beauty—and better overcome the difficulties—that might occur on any given day, over the course of time.

As for who is more powerful, “Mother Nature” or “Father Time,” I’m undecided, but very thankful for whatever benevolence today and tomorrow might bring.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This piece is an updated version of one previously written by Dr. Joanne Foster, and published by Best Version Media in issues of Neighbours Magazines, distributed across Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens.

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