An article in The Atlantic struck a chord with me recently. Part of the argument is that children need to feel like they're taking on risk and resolve it. It struck a chord, because on Mother's Day, Ed and I hiked up a portion of the Billy Goat trail . Connor and Helen spent the whole time scrambling up rock faces, running ahead, climbing up and over big obstacles, and then cheering. It was a great way to reflect on how climbing can bring such satisfaction.
It was so fun, that we went back a couple of weekends later - to tackle a larger part of the trail. Connor and Helen like to bicker. But when they are outside, they seem to ease up on this a bit. When we faced the 50 foot rock climb that is midway through the trail, Helen wasn't confident she could make it.
Connor turned on the super sweet and told her to just believe in herself, and that would make it easier. He further advised to not look down.
She scrambled up those rocks with amazing grace and speed (as did Connor) and was hugely impressed with herself.
The trail is long enough and challenging enough, that we needed a mid-trail refueling break. So we stop for a picnic on the side of the trail - and if we're lucky, we can look across the water and see rock climbers scaling the wall of rocks across from us. Luckily, strawberries are in season, so we purchase a few quarts of them weekly at the local market. I also give the kids a little protein power, which they happily suck down (thank you, Stonyfield!).
The other two important elements for our hikes are:
Biking gloves - to make grasping the rocks easier.
And a whole lot of chutzpah to get up the big rock faces!
I also position Ed below Helen so that if she does slip, there's at least a chance he'll stop her fall.
This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.