Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Experimenting on Children: The Hike


As you may know, I love to experiment on my children. (Don't judge me. I mean like this.)

I love throwing them in a situation and standing back, observing and marveling, as I see the experience reveal new things about their personalities (or confirm things I already knew!)  My latest opportunity for data collection:

The Hike

Some might say that is a crazy idea. It was over 90 degrees out, and quite humid. Physically, the hike was challenging for the children, and I will admit even my legs were shaky by the end of it.

Behold, the various temperaments that tromped through the woods with us that day:



The Romantic: This child noticed the beauty of the bird flying over the water. She stopped to take in the view from the top of the hill, and she stood back to marvel at the immense trees that towered above our heads. She walked with me, and we marveled and praised together.
The Humming Bird: This child flutters happily down the trail, free like a bird. She generally does not notice the scenery and is caught up in the thrill of the journey. She slows down only when her breath is needed to sing silly songs inspired by funny-looking stumps.
The Scientist: This child spies the beavers' marks on the trees, and asks, why do beavers do that? He wants to track them and find their dam, but it is off the trail. He inspects the roots of the fallen tree, notices the holes of the woodpecker and he questions, questions, questions.
The Adventurer: This child barrels down the trail as fast as he can go. He stops to gather acorns or rocks, and then hides to throw them at the other hikers. He laughs and runs ahead again, and his tiny voice up ahead that says “Hey guys, dare me to do this?” inspires mom to pick up her pace.
Mama’s boy: This boy is content to hike along as long as mom is near. He holds my hand or rides on my back, and we both try not to complain about the sweaty heat.
The Undaunted: This child may be slow, but he plods along with unbroken spirit. He refuses all offers of help, and he presses on with cheeks blazing red and jaw set. (This child is our 22 month old. He hiked 1.5 miles without an once of help. Daddy says he will be our survivalist, or our soldier.)

More data: The threat of danger

At one point on our journey, I stopped to give warning. “Kids, this next part is pretty hilly and there are some steep cliffs. I want you to walk carefully, and to stay on the path. Make sure you are always looking where you are going and do not get too close to the edge.”

As I talk, I see various looks on red faces:
Tired eyes, as if thinking “mom, just stop talking so I can keep plodding along and get back to the drinking fountain.”
Nervous eyes, looking widely down the path, and perhaps even inching closer to me.  Mama's boy took my hand and pulled it close.
Dancing eyes: This child got a fresh burst of energy when I said the word “dangerous,” and now he is begging me to stop talking so he can go see the danger for himself.
(This is the child that scares me the most.)

When they really started to wilt, I threatened them with "Whine Spray." You know, the stuff that you can spray on whiney children and it makes them unable to talk for an hour? (I wish!) Since I didn't have any of that, we made up stories about dragons and polar bears and snow (and swords, at the insistence of the Adventurer.) 
Then they all passed out in the van on the way home.
A great day, indeed.

I'd love to hear from you!

Do you go hiking with your family?
What did you learn the last time you went on an outing with your children?
(For great tips on hiking with children see Let Their Confidence Shine by Dakotapam)

For more experiments on children see:

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5 comments:

  1. Hikes are such a great stress reliever! I bet the kiddos felt so accomplished afterward!

    We did a hike recently at our destination family reunion. It was a blast! My husband wrote about it here: http://boogersandhiccups.blogspot.com/2012/07/our-first-grand-adventure.html

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  2. What a great way to note the vast differences in 6 siblings. It's a great reminder of how God creates every single person in a very unique way with a specific calling. And, btw, very brave parents!!!!!!!!!

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  3. We're hikers too. (Right along with Pam!) I love the different temperaments- our Emma is my adventurous one. She scares me! :-)

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  4. You are my kind of scientist. My children could start their own blog with the outdoor "experiments" I have conducted on them. I loved your temperaments categories! :) Ellen

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  5. What's the fun of having kids if you can't experiment with them???? The dancing eyes cracked me up.

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