When I was a child, I was told to obey all adults without question. Adults are smarter than children (so I was led to believe), therefore my place was to defer to all adults and treat each one with absolute respect.
That is not how I'm raising Alex and Sage.
The truth is, maturity and ethical behavior have absolutely nothing to do with age.
My kids already know this, they've seen it for themselves, first-hand. That's a good thing. It's important for them to know that no matter who you are or what you do, there will always be a ratio of wonderful/not so wonderful people in your life. This ratio has nothing to do with age; one would think that "adult" equals "mature" -- but, alas, it does not.
This ratio becomes more apparent once you step outside the box and dare to live your life in your own way. If you do anything that falls too much outside the norm, the Not-So-Wonderful people will, without a doubt, make a Big Giant Fuss. As Alice Walker writes in The Color Purple, "Folks don't like somebody being too proud or too free."
My original purpose of blogging was to share our trip reports with our family and a small portion of the local hiking community. The blog eventually morphed into something much bigger; the comments, emails, and private messages I've received over the past couple of years make it clear that our hikes and adventures inspire other girls and women. I feel good about this. If we can have a strong and positive effect on even one person, then that's a wonderful thing indeed.
There's a price to putting yourself out there, however. There's a cost to being "too proud or too free." Being proud and/or free makes you an easy target for the Not-So-Wonderful. Though the vast majority of messages I've received have been supportive (thanks, folks!), a few have been..well...not. I'm not talking about genuine questions or respectful but opposing points of view. I'm talking about intentionally offensive rants.
I have shared some of these negative messages with Alex and Sage. Why? Because we live in the real world, and the girls need to learn about the Not-So-Wonderful people who will always, no matter who you are or what you do, be out there. The girls have learned, through our many talks, and by seeing for themselves the poor behavior of a thankfully small minority of adults, that this is real life. There will be always be folks who try to rain on your parade, there will be always be people who say you shouldn't do this or that, there will always be folks who try to put a rock in your bag of Halloween candy. The trick is to know that immature behavior on the part of an adult reflects a deficiency of character within that particular adult. The best you can do is recognize the immaturity for what it is, not take it personally, and move on.
The girls are not disheartened by any of this. Thanks to our many conversations, they understand that this is simply part of the real world. There are people you can count on, and there are people you can't. There are trusted and beloved friends of the family, and there are folks who whisper incessantly behind your back. It doesn't really matter who you are or what you do, there will always be people who genuinely love you and like you for who you are, and there will be those who are...well...Not-So-Wonderful.
The lesson is, of course, to be who you are, no matter what. Do not be afraid to be bold, to be free, to walk your own, unique path. The Not-So-Wonderful will always be there. They are the yin to your yang. Learn from your encounters with them, if you can, and continue along your brilliant and beautiful way.
- UP: REVIEWS and PRESS
- GraniteGals PODCAST
- Speaking Engagements/Nonprofit Fundraisers
- Alex in the White Mountains (Alex's hiking blog)
- Sage's White Mountain Treks (Sage's hiking blog)
- California's Lost Coast Trail. June 8-9, 2019
- England's Coast to Coast Trail 2018
- Cohos Trail 2017
- Iceland's Laugavegur Trail 2016
- Great Wall of China Trek 2015
- John Muir Trail 2014
- El Camino de Santiago 2013
- NH Four Thousand Footers (Alex and Sage)
- NH Four Thousand Footers -- WINTER (Alex and Sage)
- Trailwrights 72 (Alex and Sage)
- 52 With a View (Sage)
- The White Mountain Grid