I’m pretty lazy. I’m also a procrastinator. I wish I weren’t and I am trying to change, but those are the facts. These are not traits that I admire and I hope that I don’t pass them on to my children.
I’m also a homebody and while I love being outdoors, it’s not always my first choice. That being said, I have been making an effort to get outside more and make sure that outdoor activities are a part of our family life. We recently got away to the Oregon Gardens Resort for a couple of days as a family and included lots of outdoor time and activities.
On our way to the Resort, we stopped at Silver Falls. Our hiking book said it was a pretty easy hiking loop – I love loops – I don’t like backtracking. It mentioned some elevation change, but it didn’t seem too bad. It was a bit rainy, but we headed out and it was amazing! You actually start at the top of the North Falls and then the trail leads you down to the South Falls. When I say leads you down, I mean DOWN. Which is all well and good until you realize you have to hike back UP to get back to the car.
Both Falls were beautiful and you actually get to walk underneath them. The boys were loving it and so was I. Once we passed the Lower South Falls, the trail started to head on back to the parking area. It was a picturesque hike on a paved trail, but it was hard work – lots of switchbacks that seemed to never end. I was tired and as Jude and I walked along, he made it clear that he was tired too and wasn’t very happy about this hike. I responded, as much to myself as to him, that if we weren’t making our way back UP, it would mean that we hadn’t gone DOWN to see the Falls. Hard work isn’t always fun, but there is often a reason that will make it worth it.
The following day, we spent hours in the Oregon Gardens doing a geocache challenge – it involved finding 10 geocaches throughout the Garden. It was a lot of fun, but it took a long time and there were several geocaches that were very hard to find and we all wanted to give up at times. The hardest one to find was the last one and it was terrible! It was tiny and nearly impossible to see even though we knew we were in the right place. Again, that desire to give up was strong in all of us, but we persevered and finished what we started.
So as I face hard things, things that I don’t want to do, that are challenging and difficult, I can remember the lessons that I hope my boys learned. Somethings are hard to do, do them anyway. There will be rewards that are obvious – views, experiences, bragging rights. There will be rewards that are not so obvious – the strengthening of those invisible muscles of will, the knowledge that you can do things that are difficult, courage that the next time you are challenged, while it might not be easy, you can do this.
I also learned some lessons on our hike and during out time in the Garden. It’s easier to do difficult things when you are sharing the journey – you will sometimes have to do things by yourself, but seek help or support or simply a listening ear whenever you can. Colin often encourages me when I want to give up and then, I hope, I encourage him when his enthusiasm wanes and he is discouraged. Have fun and laugh – we laughed a lot in the rain as we climbed the path and as we searched for those elusive geocaches – we also argued some and weren’t always kind, but the laughter and the jokes won out and made the difficulties easier. Once you have done that hard thing, no one can take that from you. It’s done. There will be more hard things, but that hard thing is done. You may have to do that particular hard thing again, but you’ll know that you can do it.
I also know that sometimes I don’t do the hard things. I shy away. I avoid. I don’t even begin. Other times I start and I give up, I don’t finish. It makes me sad, it frustrates me, it discourages me and it can make me want to give up on future endeavors. I have to think about what I would tell me children if they shied away from a challenge or started something and gave up because it was difficult. I wouldn’t love them any less. I wouldn’t think that they were less. I wouldn’t berate them. I would love them and comfort them and I would challenge them – remind them that they can, in fact, do difficult things. Perhaps instead of beating myself up when I don’t complete a challenge, I can do what I would do for my kids – love, comfort, remember and challenge.