Instilling a love of the outdoors is so beneficial. In this article I want to discuss why it’s important for us to create adventurous children.
One of the best ways to increase self confidence is to face challenges and overcome them. A sense of accomplishment, and knowing they were able to overcome an obstacle is key to fostering confidence. As parents, or those who work with children, we need to provide challenges that aren’t too difficult; nothing can ruin a child’s curiosity or ambition faster than defeat. This may take some experience or experimentation to understand the fine line between what is too easy, and what is demoralizing. Always default to the “too easy” side if you’re unsure. It’s rewarding to see their confidence and excitement grow, as a new avenue of exploration unfolds before them.
If you are able to instill a love for adventure in anyone, children or adults, they will not only have new experiences and new wonders to enjoy, but they’ll be healthier humans as well. Many studies have shown the benefits of nature on humans, especially those that live in heavily urban environments. A concept originally from Denmark known as “forest kindergarten” was pioneered as a way to help children’s development and connection with nature. The idea has spread, and is gaining momentum in the United States now as well.
Adventure is out there
Exercise as play
How do the words, “treadmill”, “gym”, and “diet” make you feel? If you’re like most people, it makes you unhappy. This is why exercise is cyclical: If you feel you have to exercise because its good for you, or you want to lose weight, it becomes a chore. It’s not fun: It’s something you have to do. To top it off, most people quit once their goal is reached. Healthy habits are habits, not events. Exercising and dieting are events with a goal, and rarely are they sustainable.
However, if you love cycling, and have found a local cycling club, chances are you’ll show up for that weekly ride because you are passionate about it, and you enjoy the new friends you have met through cycling.
Going to your first climbing gym and meeting climbers who are eager to “show you the ropes” really can inspire a lot of people to keep coming back.
You don’t feel too differently than children – children don’t want to exercise for the sake of exercising. They want to play. They want to have fun. And helping them discover all these fun-to-do physical activities will keep them healthy, because they’ll stay active doing things they are passionate about.
A magical thing happens when children gain confidence in a new skill – they branch out. They’re more likely to try additional activities. Confidence in those additional activities spurs on new activities, and so on, and so on.
Self confident children tend to develop into leaders. It’s easier if you’re sure of yourself, to assert yourself. But if you feel like you’re no good at things, you’re less likely to take the risk of putting yourself out there and looking like a fool. Children do the same thing.
“It’s easier if you’re sure of yourself, to assert yourself.”
It’s an amazing feeling to see a child share their love for adventure, a love that you passed to them.
Family and connection
What started out as an introduction to bicycling in city parks may very well lead to a future mountain biker. I know it did for my daughter, and now she has a road bike too, wears a team kit, and loves to do things with daddy. It’s one of the greatest ways to have a connection with your child. Doing physical activities with them, making them competitive in a friendly way (first one to the end of the trail gets to choose dessert), can reward you with a better relationship with your children.
You may very well find that the children you’re trying to inspire, will in turn inspire you. You’ll stay more physically fit, because now you have something you love to do too, and someone with which to share it.
You want to pass on your values to your children? There is no better way than spending quality time with them. Their respect for you will grow, and they’ll be more receptive to what you’re trying to share with them, if you’re both doing things you’re passionate about together.
Think about some of the strengths the kids in your life have, and how you can work with those strengths to inspire an adventurous spirit. In future articles, we’ll talk about ways to get them active and some of the hurdles you may have, especially if you yourself aren’t involved in some of the more adventurous activities out there.