Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.
It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about adventure all week, and I’m always curious to see what synchronicity pulls in. Last night my Dad asked me if I wanted to go to Dhaka, Bangladesh—all expenses paid, and flying business class, no less. I would be accepting an award for Economics on his behalf. I must admit I am considering it. The wild lark appeals to me, as does making a detour to India.
And this morning, at breakfast, I read an interesting review of the book In Praise of Messy Lives, by Katie Roiphe. Dwight Garner’s review says Ms. Roiphe carefully — and necessarily — isolates “messiness as a value, a good thing, a lost and interesting way of life.” And I love this: At bottom Ms. Roiphe fears that as people “we may have forgotten, somewhere in the harried trips to Express Yourself Through Theater or Trader Joe’s, to seize the day.”
Getting messy, seizing the day, being caught in the rain without an umbrella, all capture the essence of adventure.
Hitting the road of some sort is my favorite kind of adventure. The struggle for me sometimes is coaxing my son to be my adventure co-pilot. His comfort zone is the inside realms: books, drawing, and pretend play. The call of nature falls on oblivious ears. I have to strategize a bit: instead of suggesting a bike ride, I call it a treasure hunt. A walk gets disguised as a trip to the library.
My son has also had the good fortune to be working with Simon Paul Harrison, the founder of Wild Earth’s Children. In his book The Truly Alive Child he has a whole chapter called “Adventures and how to Support Them.”
I treasure this excerpt:
“As adults, we have a responsibility to help our children respond to the call of adventure. It is not going to go away. We can encourage them and provide a relatively safe environment in which they can have positive, full, and free experiences. How can we improve the chances of this happening? By understanding that adventures are not just for children! We too must play and be alive. As adults we can also embrace the experience of becoming more. But that cannot happen unless we refuse to allow fear to paralyze us. Adventures must be consciously chosen, and the spirit of adventure passed on to our children. We must allow children to have their own adventures, find their edge, and go beyond.We need to stop wrapping them in cotton wool every single minute of the day. Instead let them get muddy, dirty, and wet. Let them be hot and cold, tired and awake. Let them be happy, sad, angry and joyous. In this way, they will leave fear behind and become all the things they can dream of.”
I’ve been saving things up for my adventure blog. I have this poster hanging up in my office. The poetry fragment sums up the incredible perfume adventure adds to our lives. It was chosen by The Academy of American poets for their 2012 National Poetry Month poster.