"Being a good dad starts with presence not presents"
'What do you want to impart to your children as they grow up ?'
This was a question I was recently ask. I answered that I hoped to teach my girls to be strong and confident and not to be held back by other's perceptions of limitations. That night and for the few days since I have thought about the question and my answer and if it could be boiled down to one words. Finally last night I realized that the word I was looking for was adventurous. I would like my girls to be adventurous.
Now adventurous can mean a host of things. When we think of the word adventurous it conjures up images of mountain top flag raising or deep sea cave diving usually but for me its not just these amazing feats it always boils down to a simple equation, Curiosity + Bravery = Adventurous.
Now this seems like maybe a strange way to describe someone who is adventurous but let's think about it. First curiosity, now I always encourage both Lucy and Tilley to ask as many questions as they want about things they see, feel, or experience. In turn, being able to learn from these things makes them want to do more, feeding their curiosity. However sometimes they come up against things that make them feel a little 'scared' or 'uncomfortable'. Maybe they want to slide under the sofa but can only just fit and don't want to get stuck, or we are traveling in a new country and there is a different type of food they haven't tried, or they want to see what's at the top of a hike but are getting tired. Now this, for me, is where the next part of the equation comes in, bravery.
So what do I mean by bravery? Well when we talk about bravery it elicits powerful ideas of extraordinary feats but in actuality I think people can be brave everyday. Taking the plunge to try something new, to me, is being brave. Starting a new healthy diet or exercise program is brave. Speaking out when you don't want do something is brave. Trying a new food for dinner is brave. So when my girls are feel apprehensive about something new, giving them a little nudge and some support is actually helping them to be a little more brave each time.
So how does curiosity + bravery = adventurous. Well some people show bravery everyday, like firefighters or police officers, where others are deeply curious, like scientists. But, the combination of curiosity and bravery leads to adventurous discoveries. Now putting them together, having a question like 'can I squeeze under that tight gap in the sofa' or 'could I go skydiving' or 'I wander what Thailand looks like' and then acting on it by trying, going, experiencing, well, to me that sounds a lot like being adventurous. Adventurous people can simply be people who ask the same questions as everyone but after they ask them they decided to take that brave step of answering those question. So next time you or your kids come up with a question, maybe think about the equation and throw an extra little bit of adventure into your life. You never know, you could start with a trying a dragon fruit and end up skydiving, adventure can take you anywhere and that's one of the things i'm hoping to impart to both my daughters.