Today we welcome Jennifer of Mommy Hiker to the blog. I absolutely love her photography and words – and she has some great thoughts about how our children learn so much from nature!
Placing a focus on instilling in our kids the positive pillars that mark a great leader, is a just and noble endeavor we, as parents embark upon each and every day. These lessons can be taught any where, any time and what better classroom is there than the one Mother Nature built from the ground up with her own two loving hands.
The Four Pillars of Leadership consist of Integrity, Respect, Determination and Confidence and our dear Mother Nature has got them all in spades. With a little observation, stillness and connection we can seek to show our children just how perfect they truly are.
Mother Nature is nothing, if not integrous. She is consistent and honest, although at times seemingly harsh, simply doing what needs to be done to maintain balance. She reflects her mirror of integrity back to us as we watch her conduct her symphony.
Integrity is deeply rooted in our every fiber, its core planted in the silence of our soul. It is connected to every word we speak, every action we take. Sitting with your babe by a stream, marvel as the leaves on the ridge of the mountain always change from green to yellow to gold and finally to brown and you will have learned that she is connected to you and you to her.
There is not one single solitary thing in Nature which doesn’t have its place or purpose in the grander scheme of things. The dirt respects the caterpillar, the caterpillar respects the plant, the plant respects the sun and so on and so on. Everything is essential for the other to exist and what more valuable lesson could there be to pass along to our little ones?
Leading by example is crucial to a child’s development and as they watch us accept and celebrate the value of all people and nature and the world around us, they in turn will impart the same consideration. Enlist your little one to help you clean up your campsite, while highlighting the importance of the “Leave No Trace” philosophy, add to that a sincere hug and a kiss for their job well done and they will begin to plant the seeds of respect and self-respect.
One thing you can always count on when it comes to Nature is its near perfect ability to take immediate initiative, acting with diligent purpose to achieve its goal. The coolest, most recent memory I had with my daughter and husband was early one evening as we all sat on our balcony in quiet fascination watching a spider spin its evening web.
Excitedly we witnessed the grace and determination with which the spider was creating; string after string, circle after circle, rushing with care to finish before dark descended. My daughter has spoken of it every day since and its lesson is fortifying her intention, her resolve and her purpose to achieve her goals.
Mother Nature believes in herself. She knows her strengths, easily knows what she wants and is always positive. She exudes confidence.
Try, if only for short periods of time at first, giving your kid the reins to navigate through decision-making and problem-solving. Help them discover their own distinct likes and dislikes by showing them all that you can. Convey your trust in their decisions by allowing them to initiate what course they would like to take across the rocky stream-crossing and watch their confidence blossom into meaningful self-love.
Let us remember one thing, leaders come in all shapes and sizes; some are iron-fisted and some are self effacing, some are quiet and shy and some are gregarious and loud. So, when they stop mid-hike and sit down in the center of the trail, allow them to sit and discover. Let them be inspired by their own inclinations which will propel them towards their own great purpose.
All photos courtesy of Jennifer from Mommy Hiker.
I started The Mommy Hiker Blog in the hopes of inspiring other parents to get outdoors with their kids to explore and discover the wonder and beauty of Mother Nature and in doing so, I have inspired myself.
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