There was a time when I answered the ubiquitous question asked of all children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” by saying I wanted to be an adventurer. My second grade birthday party was an Explorer Party and we “discovered” a cabin in the woods behind our house and made a fort out there.
Today, children seem to have fewer adventurers because we protect them from everything. Listen to this, young parents.
Imagine your seven year old today explaining that she went to an Explorer Party in the woods, climbed on the roof of a crumbling cabin, and crawled around looking for left-behind treasure. And then on the way back through the woods, “a nice neighbor” came over and walked the kids home. Not exactly the typical party with Frozen cake.
The truth is that having adventures is a privilege. There are many “nice neighbors” who are in fact not nice. In some neighborhoods, their stray bullets will kill you. In some places, adventures are not child’s play; adventures are what you do to live. But that’s another post.
Now that my kids are twenty-somethings, they share more of their childhood adventures without the fear of getting into trouble: the time the deck was set on fire, the time they filmed a movie in the crawl space of a friend’s house, the time they played Nerf war in the church sanctuary at midnight.
I need more of this in my life today. Yes, I have adventures still but they tend to revolve around work. (e.g. The time I drove a homeless lady around all day before realizing that she was rich.) I like adventures in restaurants. (e.g. Alligator stew is delicious.) I like road trips with HH (happy birthday Big Guy.) But I need more active adventures: hiking where I don’t know the path well, dropping everything on a random Tuesday and wandering in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Seeing inconveniences – like car trouble in the middle of nowhere – as an adventure rather than a burden.
I’m off today and next week I’m having adventures on vacation. I may or may not report back for a few days.