I’ve been a Mom for just over nine years. I’ve been through the gamut in terms of learning and growing and getting to know my children and their limits or lack thereof. I think that I, and their Dad, have done okay bringing them up so far. One of the prouder things I get to say as a parent is “I Took My Kids There”.
Just when I thought Mom Shaming had been confined to breast versus bottle, medicating versus non-medicating, Waldorf versus Montessori, I stumbled up on a new one: Adventure Parenting Shaming. For realzzzzzzzzzzz.
I was I was on the treadmill in the gym one day last week and I overheard a woman talking about parents taking their children to dangerous places and how awful it was of them. First of all, I know this woman does not have children, so my momma senses got on edge. Yes, parents taking their children to dangerous places is bad, I agree. Who in their right mind would do that?
I asked her to define dangerous
See, I come from a journalism background and I’ve had to cover stories where families are literally running for their lives in places like Chechnya and other war zones like Afghanistan. I’ve lived with nightmares from the images I’ve made stories out of and that’s why I can’t do it anymore. People there live in danger and were fleeing it. Taking your kids there for fun? No thanks. Never in my wildest dreams would I walk into that with my kids.
The woman in the gym proceeded to detailed cliff hikes, caves and grottos. She talked about the grotto in the Bruce Peninsula she had just been at and she said children were running everywhere. She talked about how in caves, nothing is safe and the roof could fall in at any time. And on cliff hikes – there’s no barriers. No way!
What she didn’t know what that my kids had very recently been on a cliff hike in Algonquin Provincial Park. The week before that, they were in Tyendinaga Caverns and Caves. Oh, and I also had them down into the Bonnechere Caves and that I was planning to take them to that very grotto in the Bruce Peninsula this week.
I’m not every parent and how I parent my children is different than how another woman will parent her children. And I envy the adventures my friend Kevin and his family, the Wandering Wagars take! I’m working the kids up to that. In the mean time, I’m finding places all over Ontario for my kids to explore.
I’m showing my children how to explore the world and teaching them to respect nature. Would I ever allow my children to run to the edge of a cliff? No. Are they learning to approach cautiously and assess the “boundary”? Yes. The power and impact of split second reckless decisions and the vulnerability of our physical selves in a force so much more powerful than our own being is an amazing lesson.
If those aren’t the best lessons in life, what is?
And my kids did make it into the Grotto in the Bruce Peninsula. Check out our video!