As a kid, I can’t remember a single day hanging out watching TV with my parents, but I have many memories of being outside with them. Getting my kids outside to experience new things has always been a priority for me. I know that it will help them grow in a world that is heavily dependent on technology. I worry it will become harder for a child to see and experience what a day in the mountains can offer as our world progresses. Here, my daughter tops out on her first big alpine climb in mountains.
The alpine playground for a 12-year old is pretty daunting. It goes beyond the feeling a child gets their first day at a new school. The evening before, we watched one of the most amazing alpine sunsets I had ever seen. I don’t think either of us slept much, but the 5am buzz came way too soon. As we started up the initial lower snow field, the morning glow hit the slopes as if fireworks had exploded overhead. After a couple pitches up, we began to get some air under our feet and I could begin to see some anxiety building. I asked how she was feeling and she said she felt sick. The next moment, she was puking at the belay and before I could say “Let’s head down” she said, “I feel much better now, let’s keep going.” I couldn’t have been more proud of her. She worked through her fears and anxiety and wanted to push on. At age 12, I don’t know if I would have been that strong, but I am very proud to call her my daughter.
For most kids, the unknown is never their first choice and probably for good reason. When it comes to getting outside and trying new things, kids these days would rather choose the path already travelled, which typically leads to hours of gaming and TV. At age 14, my son has experienced more than most adults, but he didn’t always participate willingly. At first, I tried to choose things I was sure he would like, but it took me some time to realize that if I followed that path, I wouldn’t be bringing new experiences into his life. Sometimes these experiences are appreciated much more after the fact (sorta like Type 3 fun), but the experience and the memories can be life changing. I figure the more my kids experience outside, they are more likely to find their own passions and adventures in the mountains in the future. I hope it all leads to a growing appreciation of amazing wild places.
“Whatever our passions are we must feed them, we must invest in them, we must build them, even if they are castles in the sky” – Hendri Coetzee
Sharing my passions with my children and wife is one of my most rewarding life experiences.
As my daughter and I sat on a ridge watching the sunset I walked away to look at our decent and I took a moment to look back and captured this image. With video games, TV and all of the other things that can capture a kids mind, its nice to see wilderness is still the ultimate power.