How heavy is your pack?

In case any of you have bought into the illusion that life here has become a string of parties with (read: near) billionaires, I’ll share a glimpse into our true reality. It’s not nearly as glamorous as that last post portrayed.

On a day to day basis we continue to struggle with questioning the impact of our decision to be here. We know that we are we equipping our kids with so many life skills through this journey, but I continue to wrestle with the question of “at what cost”.

It’s like setting out for a hike, a day in the wilderness.

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The trails here really are so inviting. What awaits us in the light beyond?

You need a pack with some essentials, to ensure you’re equipped for whatever the wilderness may throw your way.

Water, obviously.

Snacks, depending on how long you’ll be out, this could range from your classic G.O.R.P (good old raisins and peanuts) or a full on back-country picnic.

The wilderness can present unpredictable weather and so layers are crucial. It may rain, so a waterproof layer is advised. What if there is a water crossing? Waterproof shoes would be smart.

Bear-spray; necessary and advisable in some parts.

Chap-stick, bug spray, sunscreen, deodorant (you know how sweaty we get!), toilet paper, in case of dire conditions…

Sun glasses, compass (also known as your phone), camera, (see previous note)… it becomes a heavy pack.

It’s cumbersome and a burden. What started as an idea for a lovely jaunt into the unknown has now been saddled with this heavy pack, weighing you down.

At what point do the tools we might need along the way become a burden, weighing us down to the point of stifling progress? At what point does a heavy pack limit the distance we might travel on that path. What is the magic equation between preparedness and progress?

We know that we’re equipping our kids with the tools they’ll need for success, later in life. But  have we made their pack too heavy too early? The skills they require to navigate daily life are simple. Care free days are the essence of childhood.

The skills they’ll need to tap into for the life that is to come are more complex. Is it fair to load up their pack with those tools now? These are skills that are heavy, bulky, cumbersome. The sort of skills that weigh you down and make the trail seem far more daunting than it is.

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Clearly overkill on a day-to-day basis. But a good helmet has saved a life. D’s good buddy is good to go.

But the opposite would be to send them out onto the trail with an empty pack, completely ill-prepared for what lies ahead. Without the skills or tools to face the vagaries of life.

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This is in my backpack.
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The right footwear is also a critical choice. No one wants to go through life with ugly or uncomfortable shoes.
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The worst fate would be to opt out altogether and simply be a spectator.
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Pretty, sure. But will it get you where you need to go? I highly doubt that.

There are days that I think that the pack we’ve saddled our kids with is far too heavy. They’re just little still; shouldn’t life be filled with easy, simple, happy days? With no worries or fret?

But protecting them from a heavy pack means leading them into life ill-prepared. It’s one thing if we’re walking that trail with them, carrying the bulk of the burden for them, (let’s face it, as parents, that’s often what we do. Nearly suffocating under the weight of that pack.) But the goal in life is to equip them for the trail on their own. Without us to carry the heavy pack. We need them to not only be strong enough to carry the pack, but also wise enough to know which tool they’ll need and when.

Our time here has enhanced the tools in our pack. Some days those tools feel oh-so-heavy. I have to trust that one day, along the trail, they’ll need those tools.

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We’re good. We’ll explore this path our way.
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Taking the fast track – no looking back.
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I don’t like this one bit, but I’ll take it one step at a time.

If all goes well, maybe one day, the kids might even say “hey, thanks Mom & Dad, I’ve got it from here. I’m good.”

Oh the proverbial “one day”…

 

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