"I look forward to seeing how wilderness and wildness will shape the people my children are going to become."
Going out into the wilderness can be intimidating no matter your skill level or experience, and when you add kids to the mix it creates a whole new level of challenge and complexity. As kids, my brother and I spent endless days outside as we traveled with our parents in our VW pop-top van. There were no cell phones, iPads, computers, or televisions. Just us, our parents, and a whole lot of open space. I got cactus stuck in my hands, feet, and bottom. I slid down cliff sides, got chased by wild animals, and broke a lot of bones. All of those experiences made me who I am today.
Now that I’m a parent, I look forward to seeing how wilderness and wildness will shape the people my two children are going to become. With our new project, Born Wild, we hope to inspire other families to make the time to get outside. Being a parent is the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life, more so than I could have ever imagined, and I’m here to share 5 reasons why I am raising my kids on adventure – even when it isn’t easy.
Raising my kids to be active, rambunctious humans who explore their world with ferocity is super important to me and their health is one of my highest concerns. That said, I can’t be at the top of my mom game if I’m not taking care of myself too. Healthier families help to build happier families. At the end of a long day of playing outside, we’re all content—which leads to my next point.
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2. Kids playing outside = calm, sleepy kids inside.
Kids are a little nuts sometimes—and that’s okay. Consistent activity keeps my kids’ bodies and minds engaged. The outdoors offers adventure, challenge, and unstructured fun. It encourages kids to be creative and to just play. I notice such a difference if we spend the day outside rather than cooped up in the house. They run around. They explore. They fall and get up. They learn. And they’re a lot more likely to fall asleep fast at the end of an adventure-filled day.
3. We’re creating a life based on experiences, not things.
I became a mother at 25 years old and have been trying to figure it out every day since then. Although it may sometimes seem like it’s a walk in the park, this job called motherhood is the most difficult thing I have done in my life. I don’t know how to dress my kids in cute clothes, I don’t know how to do fancy braids or throw a raging children’s birthday party for the life of me. But one thing I do know is how important it has and will always be to take my kids outside. To teach them that this life isn’t about possessions or material worth. Life is about experiences and learning who we are and I don’t know any better place to do that than in the solitude of nature.
4. They’re learning skills to bring into the rest of their lives.
In the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, I know my kids will be able to survive in the mountains. Based on every movie I’ve seen, that’s a good place to be. All kidding aside, I know personally how learning survival skills can build confidence and that hands-on experience is invaluable. They’ll learn about the elements from building fires, about how connected our ecosystems are when we explore the local flora and fauna, and chopping wood (when they’re older, of course!) will teach them about physics. The stars will teach them about our place in the universe and I think that’s pretty neat.
5. Exploring is something we can do together.
The time spent outside with my family as a kid is an invaluable experience to me and sticks with me to this day. Years later, all of those experiences have shaped me into the woman and mother I am today. As a mom, it is so important to me that I spend time with my kids outside. It’s something we can do together, without the distractions of home and modern technology.