• My oldest daughter (15 years old) just came back from her class trip, where they went on a hike for the day to Santa Monica National Park. Yes, it’s a National Park and is beautiful, though not many people know about it. During the hike she acted like a tour guide explaining to all of her friends what the different types of rock formations were (sedimentary, etc.) and taught them about the wildlife in the area. Some of the kids were listening intently while others seemed to tune out.

    The funny thing is that, as a family, we’d go on long hikes quite regularly. Pretty much every week. At first she was excited to go but eventually it became more like a chore for her. That’s when she started complaining, “Do we have to go hiking again? Can’t we be normal, like everyone else and just stay home and play games?” Even during our hikes I would continuously point out the wildlife indigenous to the region and read the national park brochure out loud. My younger kids appeared interested and wanted to learn. However, my oldest daughter would verbalize that she didn’t care about what I was discussing and would often walk ahead of us to make sure she didn’t hear anything. According to her, she would have preferred to be doing anything else other than hiking.

    She knew that my wife and I loved nature but kept saying the she was not like us. It turns out that she enjoyed going on the hike with her friends and was proud that she could explain the history and wildlife of the region. Most of her class had never been there and half of them had never gone hiking or traveled much. It opened up her eyes to realize how lucky she was to have these experiences and parents who love to travel and explore. I was so proud that it reminded me to keep teaching my children because they are listening even when they tell you they don’t want to hear it!