Your children may be addicted to digital screens, but Dawn Savidge believes it’s time they started to live a little!
Adventure. It is a word that invokes fear into some people and yet others feel alive when they hear it. Today’s world is busy. We try to cram in as much as we can during our waking hours, seven days a week. When we get moments of rest, sometimes all we want to do is sit on the sofa and flick through social media whilst watching Netflix in the background. Adventure seems so far from our reality.
We are living in a wired world. We are never more connected to people through social media, yet totally disconnected at the same time. Our devices have become an alternative to quality family time and our social media worlds have become a way to soothe our tired souls. The endorphins that we get from connecting to a wired world is the same as dopamine created through vigorous aerobic exercise. The difference is that there is a social disconnect between the virtual and the real world. We were not created to live in a wired world.
Did you know that God created us for adventure? God created Adam and Eve and gave them the whole earth. One of the first ever adventures that humans had was to walk in a world not yet spoilt by humankind. They named the animals, fish and birds, and did all this whilst spending quality time with God in the cool of the day. Adventure is woven through our DNA. God created us to live a full life in relationship with Him.
If God created us for adventure, is it not important to introduce our children to adventure? Babies’ brains develop and change according to the environment that surrounds them. You might have taken your baby on a foreign holiday, introduced them to a new culture, sights, sounds and smells, but your child’s first memory might have been when they were three or four years old. Does that mean that that first adventure was a waste of time and money? No, not at all. New experiences, relationships, environments and adventures will build strong brain architecture which will help in their development.
The definition of adventure is an unusual and exciting or daring experience. It can literally mean a break in routine or a diversion from what is usual. Breaking it down can make it sound less daunting to those who would say that they are not adventurous. Adventure does not have to be extreme sports, hanging off mountain sides and jumping from planes. But adventure is one good way to build a strong family.
When I first became a solo parent, I knew that adventure was something that was going to be integral to what I was creating our family to be. However, my three children at the time were weeks old, two and four years of age So my visions of climbing mountains and wild camping on beaches had to be more realistic. I had to ask questions like, how do I keep the routine of naps and meals whilst out and about? What equipment would I need? How can I practically manage to adventure with two toddlers and a baby on my own? How would I even go about planning our first little adventure? My advice would be to sit down and think through some of these questions. Planning and preparation before an adventure means that the unexpected can be dealt with and the adventure becomes a positive experience for all, rather than something that must be endured.
Social media is full of families who adventure. Living in converted buses, they travel across continents and fill their social media with glorious photographs. This can either make us want to go and seek adventure or feel that we could never aspire to achieve such happiness, so we become rooted to the spot. If you do feel inspired, by all means follow them. But my advice would be to have adventures of your own.
Fear can inhibit the type of adventures that we seek. In the movie, The Good Dinosaur’, Poppa here says, ”Sometimes you’ve got to get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side.” Know that God is with you in your fear.
So what does adventure look like? Each person will have their own view of what it means to them. Start by having a conversation as a family. What are some of your dreams? To climb a mountain? To kayak down a river? To walk the Highland Way? To holiday abroad? Write them down. Do not limit your thinking. Then how will you work towards achieving those adventures as a family? We have always been inhibited somewhat by having just one income in the house, so we would have to save towards a big adventure. In the meantime, we would have lots of little adventures like a day at the beach, a picnic in the rain under a tree, biking to places we have never been before. One thing I have learnt is that money comes and goes, but adventure creates memories which last a lifetime.
Adventure also builds life skills for the whole family. You will need to plan, work out a budget and research the steps needed to complete the adventure. You may need to comprise after considering everyone’s ideas. Make sure everyone gets an opportunity for their top choice for adventure. You might need to follow a map and learn to navigate. You might want to think about how to record the event so that you can look back at it in years to come. Include all members of your family from conception of the idea to the actual adventure.
Adventure is so good for the body, mind and soul. It will create lasting memories that your family will carry for years to come. It will inspire your own children to create adventurous memories when they have families of their own. You are literally inspiring generations to come. So go and adventure well.