Seventeen years ago, a friend said something startling to Chrissy and me in her dorm room.
“You’re kids are going to be so lucky.”
This was startling because we were just 20 years old. We were barely engaged. We didn’t know if we even wanted (or could have) kids. And we’d just been talking about all the crazy things we wanted to do, like run off to a remote Nicaraguan village right after college.
Being parents was the last thing on our minds.
But this friend of ours saw something in us, something she wish she had found in her own upbringing. She saw that we were adventurous, eager to see new places, experience new things, make new friends, and do good in the world.
I’m currently reading a book about Pixar (which is really good). In it, the author quotes others about how we’re all artists as kids. Elsewhere I recently read (in a Eugene Peterson book, I think) that we all start out as poets in much the same way.
Well, I think we all start out as adventurers, too, but somewhere along the line, our courage, our wanderlust, and our energy are stolen. We lose our creativity, and we lose our wonderful thirst for adventure.
I would hate to see this happen to my children. So I’ve been thinking about how to encourage them, to build them up, and to kindle their adventurous hearts.
I can speak to them, telling them to get out there, to find something to do. I can enroll them in activities that stretch them. I can commend them when they do take healthy risks. I can choose books and films for us that show kids their age doing exciting things.
But one thing seems more important than the rest.
If we want our kids to be adventurous, we must be adventurous. (Tweet this.)
This, of course, is much harder than saying something or reading a book. We actually must find and take on challenges, and let our children see us do it.
What do you do (or have you done) to raise adventurous kids? Or what did your parents do that was helpful?
Disclaimer: I don’t know you or your kid. I don’t think this will work for everybody. (What possibly could?) But I do hope this can help some of you with your parenting, with more adventure, joy, and fun for both you and your kids.