If you've been reading this blog for any length of time at all, you'll know that getting my kids into nature has been a priority these past few years. And I'm happy to say, it is getting easier and easier as we build the habit of spending lots of time in nature.
Right now, a lot of our outdoor time is spent playing in the sandbox and building mud pies but we do hike and I do hope that our habit of spending time outside together continues as the kids grow. That's one think I love about hiking and camping as a hobby. It can grow with us. So I was quite interested in reading Braving It, a memoir about a father and his teenage daughter's trips into the Alaskan wilderness together.
I'm finding it harder to write about my kids on the blog as they get older. Finding the balance between protecting them and sharing my thoughts is difficult, especially as parents since we naturally see both the best and worst of our kids. I imagine writing a book about one's teenager to be on a whole different level. But Campbell does a great job; His relationship with Aidan is relatable and realistic, just as his portrayal of her seems to be. I enjoyed his perspective on parenting. And it just got me thinking a lot about what I hope my kids and I can do when we reach that stage of parenting.
I don't think month long treks in Alaska are on our agenda but I do hope we can do some bigger trips later on, you know, whenever we don't have to take a little potty with us everywhere. But there are two parts to that, the nature side and the relational. The afternoons spent in our backyard and getting us consistently out for 1 miles hikes weekly will hopefully lead to longer hikes and camping trips. And I hope the independence, respect and trust we are attempting to install now leads to the ability to entrust them with bigger opportunities when they are teens. And after a couple very trying weeks with a certain threenager in my life, a good dose of longer-term thinking was very welcome.
Those were the sorts of ideas I was hoping this book would contain and it did. As my first Blogging for Books review I was a bit worried I wouldn't like it but I didn't even get out of the intro before Campbell had mentioned Wendell Berry and the Socratic Method and at that point, I knew I was in good hands. (I know, I don't really like Wendell Berry. It's true. But I've learned that I do like people who like Wendell Berry). So if that was all I got out of the book, I would have been quite satisfied.
There was also a theme of Fernwah, an anti-homesickness, wanderlust-esque feeling of longing to go, to explore, to be elsewhere, that really resonated with me. As a military brat and an adult third-culture kid, I've been struggling with that lately. We've lived in this area for over six years now. Which to most people makes me a newbie, but to me means I've been here twice as long as I've lived everywhere else, three times as long as I've ever lived anywhere without moving. The Fernwah, I'm feeling it. Mine has a less wild, more cultural twist but I immediately knew what he was talking about.
But how to resolve those feelings and my desire to be in a community? And if I do decide to indulge the explorer side of my, will I just be creating this same issue for my kids? Will they be happy to have be TCK's (as I am) or will they struggle with the side-effects of a nomadic childhood (like I am). There aren't any easy answers and Braving It is a light hearted memoir so it doesn't pretend to have them but it was refreshing to hear those same questions being asked by others.
Perhaps I'll just try to appease my TCK side by reading memoirs like this of others exploring the world. The vivid descriptions of the scenes and emotions Aiden and her dad experienced are not going to be the same on paper as they must have been in person but they were still lovely. I felt like I was getting as up close and personal of a ride-along as I could, while still being able to snuggled up on my couch with a blanket, some ice cream and a real bathroom within walking distance. That's a nice combo.
So to recap, I really enjoyed Braving It and have already snuck it over to Craig's to-read pile so I can have someone to talk to about it.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.