raising little ones in the great outdoors

Times a comin’

As we’ve passed Levi’s first birthday and moved into fall, the milestones are coming fast and furious.  Crawling, which didn’t happen until 11 months, and walking is already coming on fast.  Words are beginning to pop out of him with a rush of semi-intelligible grunts, shrieks and adorable ooo’s and aahhh’s.  He knows a duck says quack, and Rasta (our dog) says Ow Ow Oowwwooooooooo!  He waves, he claps, he tries to climb up my legs like he’s bouldering, I could swear he’s got a chalk bag strapped at his waist the way he attacks any obstacle in his way!  Needless to say, I’m excited.  As we watch his learning and development curve shoot upward, I begin looking more intently at the future, how long before he’s walking, running, surfing…?  I try to tame my exuberance with the realities of life, logistics, work, time, all those things that are going to be getting in the way of doing everything I want to do with him.  I have all these plans, and while I’m aiming towards these goals I have I cant help but think about how things will really go.

I have a friend with a young son who is surfing with him (well) on a regular basis at 7 years old.  I’m figuring on the same goal, riding with me on my longboard at 3, pushing him into waves on a body board on his own at 4, surfing his own board by 5?  Snowboarding also, I figure around 4 is a good start there.  While I’m at it, maybe I’ll have him run for president by his 9th birthday and solve world hunger by 10?

That constant nagging little voice keeps telling me I’m getting way ahead of myself on this whole thing.  What if he doesn’t like doing all the outdoors activities I do?  What if he likes video games instead?  What if he wants to do ballet?  its all to much for me to get into words.  I imagine most fathers have similar feelings and concerns as their children begin to grow up from infants into impressionable children.  We all want the best for our children, and we look back through our own lives to see what has brought us the most joy and fulfillment. The best we can do is foster an envoronment that leads our children outside.  Want to have your kid surf instead of playing video games; put the Playstation in storage and go to the beach.  Want him to climb instead of hanging out at the mall, make it a habit to go to the mountains on free days instead of sitting around the house.  It can be viewed as work, or it can be viewed as bringing the ffamily together ina way that will start positive habits that can last for years to come.

I was talking to a father of a 19 year old college baseball player who said “Baseball is my life, I just got lucky and thats what my son loves too!  I encouraged but didnt push, and i made sure it was fun, never a chore.”  I’m guessing that this means you want to be a partner not a coach, and if my son wants it, a mentor, but not forcing him to do more than he wants.

Right now I’m just going to enjoy him where he’s at.  We’ll get walking out of the way first, then I’ll start planning our first boat trip to Bali, or maybe down the street to our local beach with the family, whatever he wants to do.

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6 Responses to “Times a comin’”

  1. Laura says:

    I love that little boy! What an article! You are such a great dad!

  2. Heather says:

    Not sure how long it will be before he’s walking, talking, etc..but one thing I do know…he looks like he will be awesome at playground activities. Look at his level of intensity! He’s really working that swing!

  3. James says:

    I thought the same way when my son was younger. I loved to dream of the things we would do together. Now he’s ten and all I can say is, “look out for what you wish for”. During the spring, summer and fall we load up the trailer and head for the track. My son, Sawyer, loves to race motorcross. He’s done very well and has alot of friends at the track……but, it’s not exactly what I dreamt about, this summer he had some horrific crashes. It’s a terrible thing to watch your son slam himself into the ground after jumping a back to back thirty foot double. Heck, it’s only December and we really haven’t even start skiing in the area yet; he loves the bumps.

    I’m tring to be a good dad. He’s got the best gear and great coaches. It’s just sometimes my friends, the ones who live in suburbia and let there kids ride bikes around in the streets wearing a plastic helmet, look at me as if I’m terrible. He really loves what he does and has developed some great relationships. He’s always responsbile for his own motorcycle and ski gear. He sends his resume, applies and interviews with potential sponsors. He does well in school and loves to read. He’s just an all around great kid, friend and companion. It’s way more then I could ever have wished for or dreamed of. The other day he told me he’d like to start fly fishing with his dad. Now that’s a switch. Isn’t life great!

  4. Russ says:

    Just found this site off of the Cleanest Line from Patagonia. Looks great! My wife and I are expecting our first this May…and I’ve already been thinking about how to get that little one outdoors and be my little slugger (baseball OR softball).

    Looking forward to reading more.

    Thanks…

  5. Rob says:

    Hey Danny-
    Great post! Just found this sight thanks to Dirtbag Diaries. I try to get into the mountains a few times a month with my 3 year old. By the time he was 18 months he wanted nothing to do with the baby backpack and preferred to walk. I’ve learned that the distance of the hike is far less important than the quality of the experience. We may only go a mile in a couple hours, but in that mile we’ve turned over rocks, touched slugs on the trail and smelled the wildflowers. I’ve found I’m rediscovering things from his perspective, closer to the ground. I’m trying to pay attention to what he natural takes an interest in and help him explore it. Like this last weekend when Zane came out of the house wearing one ski boot and his helmet. I promptly went inside, grabbed the other boot and his skis and helped him tromp around the front yard. Hopefully this interest continues until the snow flies.

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