Hiking for Courage

Today I’m taking a break from my Play Therapy posts and posting about something else completely:  bravery, courage & independence in women.

Today we are isolated just like the rest of the world.  The only thing we can really do is hike.   So every morning we pack up and dress for the cold weather and we find a new place to go.  Today we found a wonderful spot.  It felt quite magical with the sun shining through the massive trees.   It helps us realize how tiny we really are.

We hiked today with our 20 year old who is home from college as her school has cancelled the rest of the year.   When she arrived at our home at age 4, she was the most timid child we had ever seen.   She was the opposite of brave and independent.   Over the years, we have taught her, modeled for her, pushed her, and challenged her to push past her comfort zone, to reach for the stars and to try anyways.   When you lack a lot of natural talent it is much easier to say, “I can’t do that.”

When she was little we had to fill out a questionnaire about her future.   Did we aspire her to go to high school, college, trades or university?   We circled high school.  Never did we dream she would make it past that.  At that point she couldn’t remember what an “A” was.   She had severe memory issues.  By the time she was in grade 8 we realized she was going to go further than we had originally imagined or hoped.

Today, she was walking with our 7 year old who is the second most timid and fearful child we have.   When the path veered off and up a hill right alongside the trail we were on, I suggested the two girls go on up and take the higher trail.   When the younger girl opposed the idea out of fear of leaving the pack, our oldest daughter said, “come on, let’s try it!”  Man this momma was proud.   I marvelled at how far she had come.   Hiking in front of me is a young woman who is not afraid.   She is brave enough to go to a school where she doesn’t know anyone in a city where she doesn’t know anyone.   She takes risks.   She tries new things all the time.   She encourages others to do the same. She makes fun wherever she goes. She has no trouble entering any new world.

Way up high on the hill, my younger daughter asked loudly, “WHY can’t we just take the easy way?”   My oldest said, “The easy way is boring.”   It was then that I realized that this hike was so much more than a hike.   The hikes we are taking are teaching my kids so much.   They are learning about nature yes but they are also learning to try new paths.  They learned that it’s okay to stray a bit and explore different ways around.   They are learning to trust, to try, to offer help, to care about their environment and to take their own path.   I stopped and took this photo.   I  was in awe when I saw the tiny figures of my two brave girls in the giant forest.  Can you see them?

See the two tiny, brave girls exploring a brave new world?

I watched the two girls climb the mountain and was so proud of them.   It was definitely the longer, more arduous route.  The smiles when they came back down and the trails merged back into one were precious.   They did it.   Our small daughter learned a valuable lesson today.   She is braver, more courageous and independent than she thought when she woke up.




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