Thursday Thought: No Child Left Inside

Lila in borneo
Lila on Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo, at 7 months
Last night I was with the First Ascent team at the Eddie Bauer store at Flatirons Crossing. Peter Whittaker, Dave Hahn, Chad Peele, Seth Waterfall, and I held a panel discussion, and kicking it all off was the great Jim Whittaker, an elder statesman of American mountaineering, and a great guy to boot.

Jim waxed about his early days with Eddie Bauer (the man, not the store!), taking his early down products up McKinley, Everest, Mount Kennedy, and more. But, what struck a chord with me was Jim's recollection of where "it all began" for him, and for his twin brother, Lou Whittaker. He recalled his mother yelling when they were children – be it raining or snowing, sun or cloud – "get outside and play!" and shuffling the two giant twins out the door. Jim's personal mission these days is, as he said with a wonderful roar and a wry smile: No child left inside.

Having a daughter of my own now, and living in a far more urban setting than the one in which I grew up, I think a lot about how my wife and I will foster in Lila a love of the outdoors, a respect for the wilderness, and a desire to interact with it in simple yet profound ways. And, more importantly than just Lila, how we can – as a society – encourage our kids (and adults!) to get outside, to experience nature and to push themselves and learn about their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

So, these thoughts bring me to today's Thursday Thought, by John Muir:

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms
their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

If you're interested in this topic of getting kids outside – and the importance of it – be sure to check out Richard Louv's excellent book on the subject: Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Jake Nortonis an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speakerfrom Colorado.

Leave a Reply