The Biggest (and BEST) Lesson I've Learned from Hiking with my Preschooler
My oldest baby is nearly four. I like to say that she is "three going on 40" because she is so smart, confident, wise, and very full of who she is (which I say in complete awe and reverence). She's full of passion and wonder. She has the wisdom of an old soul but the obstinate defiance of the stereotypical three year old.
One of our very favorite things to do as a family is HIKE. Sometimes it's wandering around a park and sometimes it looks like our two year old in a pack on my back while the older one, J, slowly meanders her way alongside her dad. We talk about what we see and generally focus in on each other and are mindful of our time together. It's a special and sacred space for us.
Last weekend we made our way to our favorite little park. It is home to my favorite spot in Georgia (on the lake!) and full of little nooks and trails to explore. We let both kids walk about (one parent on each kid's tail, of course) and let them enjoy the last dregs of summertime and the first feelings of fall, a favorite time of mine.
As it was time to go, we herded our littles up towards the parking lot and J, in typical 3-year-old fashion, opted to climb on top of a wooden barrier by the trail. She traipsed around on her makeshift balance beam, her giant hiking shoes clumsily falling over each other as she looked every which way except for the one in which she was walking. Each new thing she saw was a topic of conversation and much more interesting than the direction she was moving.
I held her tiny arm in my hand to keep her from falling and to occasionally tug gently to remind her that she needed to be moving forward. I found myself telling her that she needed to look where she was walking, look where she's going, because where you look is where you end up; so just look where you're trying to go.
As soon as I said those words to her I felt like I had stumbled my way into some universal wisdom that I should have learned ages ago. Perhaps it's this new motivation to be mindful but I instantly knew that this tiny snippet of a family hike had become a new mantra for my life, my work, myself.
It's a natural law of movement and momentum. Where we focus is the direction we'll go. We don't know how to get where we're going if we are failing to focus on it. It's a simple truth that somehow gets lost in the struggle and the "hustle." Putting your nose to the grindstone (or whatever that old adage is) is great for work ethic, but lousy for mindset. I have many goals for myself and I often find myself trying to get through something to the point that I'm no longer focusing on where I am actually wanting to go. I get busy looking at the distractions (other people's work, my own struggles) that I lose sight of what I want to see.
It is nothing revolutionary. It is not complicated. But it is so damn true.
What are you focusing on--is it where you're going? Are you keeping track of your energy? Consider this a gentle tug on your arm, a loving little reminder to focus on your path ahead, not the many little distractions calling your attention (and therefore, momentum) away.