Friday, July 21, 2006

on adventure, risk, kids, and fear....

Deena commented on adventure and I found it an insightful comment. I want to follow-up with some thoughts. Here's what she said, "With the introduction of children, I find that my sense of adventure has lessened. Is it because I fear my own mortality and the thought that I may not be here for them. The realization plagues me daily that we all leave this earth some day and isn't it better to leave my children with a sense of adventure than a sense of is to reigniting my sense of adventure and remembering the bonds that brought us all together."

Of course, I can never think of adventure and Deena in the same sentence without thinking of her "fall" on Rainier. It was an piercing, earth shattering, warning - "falling"... after six inches it was pretty much over. It was a great moment.

Actually, this is a pretty weighty subject. When Alex Lowe died and left 2 kids there was quite a lot of banter. Both Tammi and I have been "chastised" for climbing. I think that adventure is equated with danger and rightly so, but it is an interesting pairing if you think about it. Adventure can't really be adventure without risk. I can't think of any other element that makes adventure "fun". (Not that there aren't other ways to have fun or other parts of it that arn't fun) Perhaps this is a whole other topic. What is risk for one person is not risk for another. Example - a commercial float trip with class two or three rapids wouldn't be too much adventure for any of my close friends. Sure, it would be fun to take the kids, but I think we would only say the day was ok. Add in some craziness and we would have a blast.

Now, throw in the kid factor to our adventures. Do I teach Bridger to climb? How about mountaineering? When I look at what I enjoy the most the answer is clear, but the answer is scary as hell too. And, as Deena pointed out - how about me? What do I do? I just went out into the desert for five days alone and climbed some things that most people would call crazy. For me it was like crossing the street and completely controllable risk (fun). (Why are these words interchangeable?) I truly do want to give my kids what I have enjoyed, but I can tell you one thing - it is personal and maybe genetic. I regret that neither Erin or Taylor enjoy what Tammi and I enjoy. I have had to accept the fact that they don't and it wasn't easy. I don't even completely understand it. It is so basic I think it universal - it's not.

Last year Tammi and I were mountain biking near Pine Ranch and we came across a dead guy. He was 52 and had a nine year-old daughter. He went over the bars and that was it. Broken neck - gone. On my vacation I went over the bars about six or seven times and thought nothing of it. I'm not sure why. I will teach Bridger to mountain bike - I just love it too much and he does too - already. And the dead guy - I' m not sure. Was he just "unlucky", inexperienced, or something else? I just didn't process it in a negative way. Although, I must admit Tammi snuck my name and address into my camelback - written with sharpie!

Deena's right - it is better to leave our children with a sense of adventure. Now, we have to figure out how to make them respect the limits - especially boys.

So Deena, here's to adventure and here's to us, and here's to the boys - once they see all the pictures and hear all of the stories it will be pretty much hopeless - we might as well teach them well!


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