Raising Outdoor Kids: Scrapes build character by Big Grey Rocks
When was the last time you let your kids play outside by themselves? Without worrying they’d be hit by a runaway bus just as a stranger started talking to them about the knee they scraped mere moments before? These days, kick your kids outside to play in the front yard and you run the risk of Social Services taking them away. Yet we all know that sheltering our kids from irrational dangers robs them of the experiences they need to learn how to identify risks, develop their sense of independence, get some exercise…
This isn’t something that us outdoor parents leave behind in the city when we take our kids into the wilds and reintroduce them to the food chain, either. Sometimes it takes all I’ve got to let my boys do something I know has a greater than 50/50 chance of leaving their blood on the trail. But we all have to learn our own lessons. And one of the reasons I take my sons to the mountains is so they can learn those lessons. So unless I think a bone is going to be broken or worse, I usually let things unfold as they were meant to.
ABOUT KEN: Ken Schmaltz has been playing in the Canadian Rocky Mountains for as long as he can remember, and his two sons will be able to say the same thing. He’s an avid hiker, scrambler, snowshoer and backcountry skier, with a little mountaineering and ice climbing thrown in to keep things interesting. But his favorite mountain adventures are the one he shares with his boys. He writes about those adventures in his blog, www.biggreyrocks.com. In addition to his day job as a marketing consultant, Ken is executive director of Crossing the Divide Experience, a non-profit organization that takes disadvantaged youth into the backcountry.
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