Teach a Kid to Love the Great Outdoors. You Won't Regret it.
Why Teach? The importance of passing on a knowledge of and appreciation for the outdoors!
Many of us venture into the outdoors to get away from everyday stress, to find some solitude, to bask in the quietness of just you and that gorgeous mountain you're staring at. And with the likes of Google and YouTube and social media, most of us can find these adventures without ever interacting with someone. For people like me, this is great! I love the idea of being independent, and figuring it out on my own! Unfortunately, there's an alarming, albeit unintended, consequence. And that's the lack of a personal connection with and mentoring of the next generation.
Whenever an Explorer is asked the proverbial question "Who inspired you", the most common answer is a parent, or another explorer, or close friend who they looked up to, someone who taught them the ways, showed them the ropes. But in just a few short years, that answer is going to become Instagram or YouTube videos. And while I love both, I don't think that's a suitable replacement for the human connection. Sure it's possible to learn from YouTube the mechanics of pitching a tent, or tying a figure-8 knot, or any number of other outdoor activities. But in order to develop a deep rooted appreciation for and love for these things, you need that personal connection. You need that instruction, mentoring, and yes, even correction at times.
So why teach? It's relatively simple. As a father of four, I know just how precious alone time is. But as much enjoyment as we get in the solitude of adventure, life must ultimately be about something bigger than ourselves. And influencing and teaching the next generation is that "bigger" thing. It brings great fulfillment to yourself, and at the same time passes on a knowledge to the person being taught. It's mutually beneficial.
For parents, this is easy, get your kids outside! Period! I promise they won't die from xBox withdrawal. For those of you without children, sacrifice a little of your alone time in the outdoors, and look for someone younger than you to teach and mentor every once in a while. I promise you won't regret it.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.