Why don’t we take the gondola?
As parents, we have to adapt our goals to the needs of our children if we want to cultivate their long-term joy about nature.
For three and one-half years, we have been hiking and travelling as a family with our oldest daughter and for nearly a year as a family of four with our baby who is rapidly becoming a small child. Hiking and travelling have changed somewhat thanks to the children. But not our love of the mountains and of the energising and inspiring effect that we gain from nature.
I want to share the beauty of nature and the mountains with my daughters. Far away from pre-fabricated playground worlds that some parents seem to confuse with circuit training, I want to get my daughters excited about their ability to play freely outdoors. Nature is a huge playground for our children. We adults must learn once again to take a close look. It’s the small things that get children excited.
Rocks and roots in place of climbing frames. Throwing rocks into a stream and dipping children’s toes into a cold creek instead of in chlorinated swimming pool water. An outdoor picnic instead of children’s cafés. Children’s hands that touch a pine cone for the very first time. The fascination of discovering an ant trail. Astonishment about flowers, animals, moss and small waterfalls. At such times, the ecstasy of a mountaintop slips into the background for us parents or even disappears completely. We are not always pleased about it. But when we see the gleam in our children’s eyes, then we become happy as parents. Mountaintop or no mountaintop.
I want to show the beauty of nature to my daughters so that they will know why it has to be protected. They can learn this lesson only if they see and experience nature for themselves.
Hiking with children is a special type of challenge for us adults. In the process, though, we can learn much and rediscover things that we had been simply passing by. I’m certain of one thing: Anybody who has a problem with patience will rediscover it.