Why to just go for it
We only live once, right?! I’m all about Carpe Diem, so why not show my kids how it’s done? There is much to be gleaned from adventure. How much more can one glean when the setup is less than ideal?
Simply by gearing up when the weather is against us, we can teach our children how to roll with the punches, how to make the most of every opportunity, how to navigate expectations and disappointment, and how to carpe the heck out of this diem, regardless of what it throws your way.
Having appropriate gear
As the saying goes, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” Though weather does in fact get “bad,” good gear goes a long way. Invest in gear that will allow you to adventure in less-than-ideal weather.
You don’t have to buy the most expensive gear, but do go for quality. No kid (or adult) is going to stay happy long when their feet are cold and soggy, or when their jacket is getting heavier by the minute, soaking up precipitation.
Remember, if you invest in something for the oldest kid, chances are, the youngest will one day be sporting said item later on. Hand-me-downs are pocket-savers. Make a list, shop around, try things on. Acquire the gear that will get you doing the things you love, even when the weather is against you.
Adjusting attitudes and expectations
Setting expectations before you hit the trail/slopes/crag/waves is a good habit to get in. And really, we can use that in all areas of life, not just regarding family outings.
My husband and I simply prep our kids with facts on weather, explain how that might impact our time, give them a few pertinent tips, and remind them to keep an open mind to whatever experience we might have. This pep talk helps me just as much as it helps my kids. It sets the tone for taking things as they come and making the most of every opportunity.
We also remember to be silly together along the way. Silly faces can go a long way. As can singing songs and taking time to notice intricate details and bountiful beauty along the way.
Secret ingredient? Hot chocolate
During our cold-weather excursions, hot chocolate is a must. We either make it up ahead of time, put it in a thermos and throw it in our day pack, or, if we’ve packed our camp stove and necessary items, we make it on the trail.
We like doing this for three reasons:
- it gives the kids something to look forward to (just in case the natural magnificence we are tromping though isn’t doin’ it for them 😉 ),
- the Hot Chocolate Stop gives us a point to get to, even if there isn’t a particular spot we are aiming for,
- because…HOT CHOCOLATE!!
What do we most remember in life? The epic, the consistent, the misadventures. My kids still talk about the time we could barely stay upright due to icy trail conditions, and how we glissaded each downhill and clung frantically to branches on each assent. They remember being covered head to toe in mud, boots filled with murky water, faces speckled with raindrops, smiles wide on their faces.
We tell friends stories of the time the wind was so strong upon reaching a mountain pass that we had to send the baby back with Dad, how I gave them a starburst for “energy,” and clothed one of them in my shirt so she could be a bit warmer, and still, we made it to the summit. And I like to think they will remember fondly how every weekend, regardless of weather, we embarked on some sort of adventure together because that’s the way we do things as a family.
The times we push ourselves just a little bit out of our comfort zones are the times we hold dear in our hearts and memories. I want to help write as many good memories on my childrens’ minds as I can. So why not GO when the weather is beckoning me to stay? We only have so much time.