Forget kindergarten, let's get our kids out on the trails! While hiking in Lake Tahoe last week with my dog Koa (12), son Corbin (10), and two nephews Luke and Sebastian (9 and 6), I began to think I should do a remake of the All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten book.
I would title it, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned on the Trail," and dedicate it to my four favorite hiking companions.
As we wound our way among the pine trees, and up and over granite slabs unlike those found anywhere else other than the glorious Sierra Nevada mountains, our conversation ran the gamut from food politics, to friendship, to death and dying, and what to do when you have to poop outside in the woods. Herewith, the tidbits of wisdom gained from both the majestic environment around us, and the wisdom of my "expedition partners":
- Sometimes you have to be quiet in order to really hear what is going on. Did you ever notice all that the trees, rocks, streams and birds have to say?
- No one should own the rights to seeds for food. They belong to nature and nature belongs to the commons. Hear that Monsanto? (Learn more about seed rights and concerns about private ownership and control of food.)
- Facing a challenge is easier when you can craft a collaborative plan.
- Spending time in nature reminds us we are part of something much bigger than ourselves and puts our "problems" in better perspective.
- When you eat healthy and get fresh air and exercise, you are a nicer person.
- Arguing and fighting about which religion is right, or if evolution is real, is dumb. Something pretty darn cool - whatever it, or she, or he, is - created this world and we should all work together to enjoy it and take care of it.
- Water is precious. Indeed, it is our most sacred resource, necessary for quenching thirst, watering plants, staying alive, keeping muscles and ligaments healthy, cooling off hot feet, and let's not forget, good skin. (Host a Hope for Water event in your community).
- You should tell your mom and dad and cousins you love them even on the days they're bugging you because...well, because life is short and you never know how long you, or your loved ones, are going to be around for.
- When life feels really slippery and scary, sometimes you just have to take a step forward and trust that you're going to be ok. (Thanks to my new Ahnu Hiking Boots from Planet Shoes - sponsors of our Go Green Get Fit Challenge - my footsteps on this particular hike felt secure, comfortable, and ready for more hikes in the future).
And finally....10. When you have to poop in the woods, find a dead log, dig an 8" hole behind it, then have a seat and do your thing with your bottom aiming right out over the hole. Burn any toilet paper you used. Make sure the fire is out. Then bury it all with dirt, leaves, and branches so you've left no trace behind other than a bit of fodder for compost. :-)