Updated: Feb 10
Let's face it, parenting is a tough gig. There is not a manual that discloses how to get it just right, nor do you receive a baby in your arms and instinctively know exactly what to do at any given moment. The truth is, we learn as we go. As our children age and enter new developmental phases, we do the same, except our skills are focused on how to navigate the many aspects of our children's lives. We try our best to do right by our children; sometimes successful in that endeavor and other times, we fail. It is all part of the process.
When our children were born, we knew we wanted them to be "outdoorsy." We wanted them to instill a love of the natural world in them; a love that had always served us. We longed for them to feel at home outside. Though it wasn't always easy (nursing my babies on the trails, changing diapers on paths, and carrying necessary baby equipment), but we were determined. As our children grew, we realized that nature quickly became an extension of our parenting. A part of our parenting we held in very high regard. We aimed to instill a powerful regard for the natural world and that world taught us all valuable lessons. Lessons we carry with us to this day.
Whenever life inside became too loud, when our children grew restless and agitated, we went outside. It didn't matter if that was for a walk around the neighborhood, a ramble at a playground or a visit to the local botanical gardens, nature seemed to always be the anecdote for what ailed us. It calmed us in a way nothing else could. A parenting trick we leaned on and still do to this day.
Now that our children are entering their teen years (gulp), we are finding that the role nature plays in our lives has changed. Being alone with our children on a trail, at a lake, or in a Berghaus allows us to have their full attention. To speak to them about whatever topics arise, free of technology and the distractions of our everyday lives. "Trail talk" has become a sacred and very necessary aspect to raising our children. There is something so freeing about nature that allows us to speak without inhibition or guarded caution. We adore those moments when we breakaway with one of our children and just allow the conversation to ensue. When we are quiet, and allow them to do the talking, we learn ever so much.
Nature has changed for us over the years, that much is absolutely true, but it has always remained a constant. A force that drives us and bonds us in ways that are most meaningful. Nature provides the backdrop for deep conversations and for reminding us of what is most important in this life. Nature continues to be about the little moments that weave themselves into our lives so deeply, that we hope our children will seek the natural world long after they leave our familiar nest.