Our mission as a parent is a tough one. And while we are certainly in the middle of trying to raise great kids, the real goal is actually raising great adults. To be honest, I can’t even fathom my kids as adults, but I know it will happen….someday. I do, however, think often about what it means to be a great person in society – someone that is loving people, caring about the community, and working hard to give back.
But, more than almost anything else, I want to raise adults who are driven, focussed, and have their priorites right. Ones that aren’t afraid to get out of their comfort zone and move towards something more challenging and more rewarding. I don’t want them to settle for mediocrity. And those lessons start now, by letting our kids fail and then encouraging them to succeed.
Let me make myself very clear that I do not think I have this parenting thing “figured out”, but really, who does?! We’re all in it for the day to day struggle and reality and love.
Sometimes I wonder how often we are criticized for “pushing our kids too hard”. For getting them out on a longer hike, for challenging them on their bikes, for not putting up with just laying around “because we’re bored”. Probably more than I care to know. Kids have limits, just like us adults. They get worn out physically and emotionally. Their bodies and minds are growing faster than they know what to do with. And yet, overcoming challenges (sometimes with a little prodding – M&Ms are fair game – if needed) shapes them so quickly and naturally to understand that life isn’t all cake and jelly beans.
There’s a fine line between pushing them hard enough so they can succeed and see those successes AND also fostering a love for the outdoors and being active and discovering the world again and again. Sometimes we nail it, sometimes we might as well chalk it up to a life lesson and give it a rest for a while.
But, I’ve seen their faces over and over again when they’re in their element – tackling a trail or a ride or a just cruising through a puddle. I’ve seen their tears of frustration overcome by the sheer joy of making their body do what they want it to. It’s an incredible feeling.
Right now I am seeing glimpses of the future when the kids will have bigger ideas and plans and adventures schemed up than I can keep up with. They’ll be encouraging me to get out. It’s not that far off.
I want my kids to be willing to try new things.
I want my kids to be willing to fail…and then try again.
I want my kids to dream and plan and chase greatness.
I want my kids to be available for the adventure of life that awaits them.
We live in a society where the amount of studies tracking screen time and obesity and the results of a sedentary lifestyle are staggering. The studies are happening over and over again because the problem is staring us in the face and affecting kids much more than just physically.
What sort of adults are you raising? Let’s set the bar a little higher together.
Get out. Stay out. Dream big.
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