Thriving is not achieved through the relentless pursuit of success. It is achieved through time and the freedom to explore. It is achieved through emotional and financial security. It is achieved through support and nurture. We know this and yet it is still one of the most difficult parenting pursuits for Americans. Some of us face very real roadblocks which need to be removed by changed policy. Some of us are so focused on our missed opportunities that we struggle to see how our desire to make sure our kids also don’t miss out might be impacting our kids. Some of us just don’t understand the systemic pressures that are weighing down our adolescents because that pressure just wasn’t there when we were kids.
For us, success means that our kids are happy, healthy, and that they are doing something that they love. I want them to be world changers. I want them do see success as offering something back to those around them instead of just taking every opportunity that is offered to them, regardless of the cost.
COVID-19 didn’t break us, it showed us what was broken. We were so busy pretending that everything was ok and that we loved the rat race that we didn’t stop to consider what it was doing to our bodies and souls. And then everything stopped and suddenly we had to slow down and face the boredom that we’ve desperately avoided our entire lives.
A regular scroll through my Facebook or Instagram accounts makes it seem like this is easy for us, but detaching from electronics and work and the outside world and forcing our kids (and us) into nature takes real effort. There are some weekends when I just want to hunker down inside and knock things off of my work and home to-do lists. There are days when I argue that it is too hot or too cold or too wet for us to face the elements. But I refuse to believe that our children have to grow up in the countryside to appreciate the world around them. We just have to make sure they are given the opportunities to see past the concrete.
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