Climb On

“Stop there little buddy, that’s high enough.”

“Any farther isn’t safe.”

“You could fall.”

“If you go too high, I won’t be able to reach you if you lose your balance.”

Oh man. Sometimes I’m sooooo not okay with how I parent. I mean, is this the kind of adult I want to raise??? Too scared to test the branches? So reliant on other people’s perspective of what’s safe? Over-parented to the point he can’t trust his own instincts? Too cautious to CHANGE THE WORLD? *

“The words you speak become the house you live in.”
I have no idea who said that, but I saw it on a vintage poster as I was scrolling Insta last night. So much wisdom in those sponsored shopping ads, ya know?

Instead of squashing out all that inner, awesome, childish drive, how ’bout using words that are more like…

“How high do you want to climb today?”
“How will you decide when you’ve gone high enough?”
“How will you determine if a branch is strong enough to hold you, before you risk putting all your weight on it?”
“What’s your plan if you go beyond my reach, and then need help getting down?”
“Do you feel balanced?”

Please understand I’m not just talking about climbing trees here.

The ability to make thoughtful decisions might be one of the most important skills we can teach out kids (helllooooo teenage pressures). It’s a skill that doesn’t have to be learned in the classroom, and perhaps cannot be learned in the classroom? It’s a skill that sure can’t be learned on many of today’s school playgrounds, since trees are often eliminated due to their unpredictability. True story. How sad is that?

Dude, life is unpredictable.

In twenty years, when my kid is about to make an important *risky* decision, that will impact that greater good of all the universe forevermore until the end of time (a mom can dream, right?), do I really want my mom voice in the back of his or her (totally adorable and brilliant) head saying, “better stop there kiddo, any further isn’t safe.”

Heeeeccckkk no. Climb on little buddies. Test the branches, trust your instincts, have a plan, and climb. the frick. on.

The end.

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Get Outside for Childhood Memories

I’m in the process of conducting interviews for camp counselors for our summer camp, Camp Smashbox. The interviews typically go a little something like this… the applicant walks in nervous. They answer the first few questions looking and sounding anxious. For some of our employees this is their first job, or first interview ever, so they just aren’t relaxed.

And then about half way through the discussion I ask them to tell me about their favorite childhood memories…

WITHOUT FAIL, before the question is even entirely spoken, I watch their shoulders drop and their body relax. Their eyes light up, their demeanor changes, they shift in their seat – lean forward – and the spark I’ve been waiting for takes over the conversation. Their tone is animated as they begin talking about imaginative things and outdoor play and important people. I am obsessed with this phenomenon.

Outdoor creative childhood play you guys. It’s magic. ✨

What are some of your favorite childhood memories? And when you think about them, do you feel yourself relax? Does a smile creep across your face? Are your memories outdoors? Do they include other people? Tell me! Tell me! I want to know if these things are as widespread as I suspect they are.

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It’ll Be Fun, They Said

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I love me some holiday traditions, and cutting down our own Christmas tree is one of my favs.

What you don’t see in this picture are Harley’s tears cuz her hands were cold, and Ana’s tears cuz her feet were wet, and Ziggy’s tears cuz the snow was deep, and my super sweet mom-friend Emily who ignored her own kids tears to come to my hot mess rescue (I guess I mean cold mess – is that a thing?) because sometimes (okay, all-the-times) three little humans feels like a freakin’ lot to manage. And dad was too busy to help with the tears cuz he was off doing man things like sawing down a dang tree.

Nevertheless. Traditions are awesome, and the tears all dried (after they froze), and hot chocolate at the end of a harrowing journey in the woods has a way of making the world feel right and good again.

Oh, and our 12 foot Charlie Brown tree is 👌. (Well it was 12 feet… until we realized the diameter of a 12 foot tree is a little… imposing… on a 900 sq ft home. So then I took scissors to the bottom branches to allow access to our hallway… and then it resembled more of a diamond shape than a cone… so then we wacked off the bottom… and now we’re left with an 8 foot tree. And our 8 foot Charlie Brown tree is 👌.)

But the other thing that’s 👌 is that I have a horrible memory. So when the annual tree cutting extravaganza presents itself as a “fun” holiday option again next winter, I will happily oblige. In case you didn’t catch it, I’m a sucker for a good family tradition.

What are your fav holiday traditions?

XO,

Cold Kara

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