Monica: Reflections on the Florida Trail Section Hike

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Looking back on our recent section hike of the Florida Trail, what stands out (other than some funky blisters and some extreme kindness of strangers) is a mental shift that took place in me.  Hiking affords so much time and space to process all the things bouncing around in my head.  It's one of the things I love about it.  

I've been plagued by uncertainty about our upcoming PCT hike.  Questions like, "Should we really be having the kids do this?", "If they aren't always (or ever) loving the idea of doing the PCT, should we just not do it?", and "Is this cruel to them?" These questions have limited my enthusiasm for the trip. Doubt can be a killer sometimes. 

These doubts get bigger when paired with another characteristic of mine. I have an unrealistic desire for my kids to love things that they naturally won't (helping around the house, sharing, school work).  I don't know why I do this. I don't love to do things that feel forced upon me. Why would they? But my tendency is to feel some doubt when I ask them to do something they are passionate about NOT doing. I don't want to be a dictator. 

What became clear to me on this trip (after some conversation with a great brother in law who came along on the trip) is that there are many things that we must be made to do that are good.  The fact that we aren't naturally inclined to them doesn't make them bad. Brush our teeth. Bathe. Consider others. Keep the laws. The question I really need to be asking is this: "Is hiking the PCT with my husband and kids going to be a good thing?".  That answer is an easy "Yes". Experiencing the beautiful world we've been given, spending TONS of time together, and having to push past some fears and limits are all good things. I'm asking them to do something good.  So, I can ask them to trust me (when they are wanting to know why we are doing this) and know that I truly believe it will hold something great for us (as a unit and as individuals). I'm not being a dictator, I'm steering them into something I believe will be good for them. I'm just being a parent.