Spending years crafting a desired outcome is something I do better than most.
It’s not just inside my marriage where I seek to influence outcome – I’ve been building a mountaineering partner. Since my son was two years old, he’s loved going uphill.
The “up” has never been a problem. In those early days, it was the “down” where he’d flame out. Back then, I’d never take him further than I could carry him out. We used to negotiate when the shoulder rides would start.
We’re into another hiking season and I wanted to share some ideas about developing your kids.
Last season, I carried everything, all the time. When I tried to get him to help out, the joy of the hike drained out of him. This led to some heavy, heavy days.
Over the winter, I adapted my training program so I could tolerate the loads.
This year, we’re trying something new. To change our view on weight, I’m leading by example and carrying extra water to every summit.
Weight is a privilege. The picture above represents ~25 pounds of privilege. 😉
Seeing me carry, had the desired psychological outcome and he’s been asking me to carry “more.”
Two things are required to earn the right to carry:
- Beat me to the summit
- Don’t fall on the way down
The not falling is tougher than it sounds. Our mental cue is “walk like a boss” => wide stance, toes down the mountain, stand tall. It’s easy for a minute.
Less easy for an hour while discussing the finer points of the latest Clone Wars season or estimating Chewbacca’s age.
Dad, Chewie is in every movie, I can’t figure it out…
With lockdown, my full program has become visible to the kids. They noticed that I do a lot of strength training. Two (out of three) asked to join. So they’ve been doing some supplemental work to our hiking program.
I made light sandbags for them. We do burpees, short runs, clean & press, keg lifts… Because their bags are light, they can run circles around me (literally). They get a kick out of being “faster than Dad” and that keeps them coming back for more.
Our youngest (below) is working with an orange dry-bag I filled with clothes. It looks HUGE but doesn’t weigh much. My son had bag envy – his is filled with pea gravel.
Let everyone be strong is a lesson I learned from Scott Molina.
Be sure you let your kids be strong and find their win. It helps build their internal motivation to persist.
As for the program we are:
- following a gradual, weekly progression
- doing it locally before considering any travel
- including a mixture of too easy, just right and challenging routes
- inserting easy days so we bounce back
- making sure we get consistent sleep
If you think the above sounds like the approach used by a gold-medal coach then you’d be right. It was taught it to me early in my triathlon career.
I special ordered a black mask from our oldest. Combined with blue-iridium sunglasses, a baseball hat and a hunting knife… we don’t have any problems getting folks to yield on the trail.
Foremost, because America need more people wearing masks. Be the change.
Secondly, because we might be on some crowded routes when the high mountains open up. Get sick later.
Finally, because it’s going to make life above tree-line seem a whole lot easier when we take them off.
Over multi-year time horizons, we have tremendous influence on the direction of our life.
My son is 9 and we can hike any route I want in the Rockies.
Be willing to inconvenience yourself (today) to help the people in your life become what you wish for them (tomorrow).