Into the Child

At age 10, my parents sat with my sister and I one evening in late May, and told us Daddy was moving away. I cried for days. Thoughts of watching him drive away from my bedroom window still cause profound pain.

I will not do that to my children. My youngest is now 10, and we have driven into the wild with 50 other ten year olds to discover nature and adventure and themselves and each other. It is a tremendous privilege to be a part of.

A child’s fear of change, perceived danger and new feelings, the need to feel safe knowing mommy and daddy will protect them, the fear of being alone. That feeling of going to bed alone in a strange new world, far from home is a terribly familiar feeling for me, sadly. I know too well how they feel.

That joy of playing and learning and growing and exploring and discovering and laughing with the greatest friends you’ll ever have is a joy I miss dearly. A joy so often taken for granted by those who don’t deeply understand what it is like to experience loss and lonliness.

Getting the most out of the child often requires going into the child to find it. That courage to overcome the fear of the dark, or make new friends, speak in front of others, ride a mountain bike, ride a horse, get motivated to try, fail, try again, succeed. Going into the child is what I have done for most of my adult life, and I am so grateful for it. So grateful to share my days, teaching and learning, exploring and discovering, sharing my self, with these ten year olds who inevitably remind me of that 10 year old boy still inside me.

And today, some fucking insane person barricaded himself in a classroom of children like these that I teach, and shot them. Writing these words makes me cry.

I have a friend, Nicole, who I knew growing up, who had a 4 year old boy killed at Sandy Hook in 2012. She faught hard for gun control in that insane fucking country, but not only does nothing change, it gets worse. I’m heartbroken.
The innocence lost. We’re all children at one time. We can all get lost in a child. A child should never be lost. The child inside. Get into the child.

My thoughts today are with every 10 year old person that has ever been and ever will be. Especially those here in these mountains with me. Thank you, don’t be afraid, you are always loved.

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