my inspiration today The Atlantic Magazine article, The overprotected kid I read this article and immediately wondered if I had failed my kids! Then I started recalling the fairy houses we built in Colorado one summer along with the old barn the kids painted and created a club house out of a few summers later—it smelled to high heaven when it was hot but they painted it and moved stuff around to make it their own.
You can see it beyond the trees in the picture below.
The article brought back many memories of my own childhood and the freedom Colorado brought me. I was not allowed to run off for hours at a stretch at home but on the Shalako property I could go hiking and walk up the LA Plata river for hours. Our friend Don had an a amazing dog named Cougar who would circle us all no matter how spread out we became. HEr herding instinct gave my parents piece of mind. One time mom attached a note to Cougar’s collar telling us it was time for lunch.
Each summer when we arrived in Durango I would go to Woolworth’s and buy an inexpensive pair of tennis shoes to wear in the river. These would last me the month and beyond but they were for one purpose–to wear in the river so I could walk on the rocks. No water shoes were available then or if they were they were too expensive for a kid who would grow out of them by the next year. The most I ever spent on them was a couple of bucks. The river was ice cold as it was fed from snow runoff from high up in the La Plata mountains. When I was little I would search out swimming holes that had formed during the spring–always grateful when I could find one that was deeper than my knees. As I grew older there were a couple up river from where we had our picnics that I could actually swim across being about 5 feet deep. I would wade in wearing a teeshirt and cutoffs. The freezing water took my breath away and made my heart pound. The water was clear and cold and the days were hot and sunny with only a bit of rain in the afternoons to cool things off.
So get outside with your kids– a day at the park or the beach is so much more than that.