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Jannine Myers Monday, 23 September 2013 11:18 TWEET COMMENTS 0

Taking the Family to the Trails

Trail time and family time need not be mutually exclusive

A trail-running group in Okinawa recently enjoyed taking their spouses and kids to the woods for a day of adventure. Photo courtesy of Jannine Myers.

In a recent article on Huffington Post, Carolyn Gregoire suggested that many of us are not using the weekends to rest and recharge as we should, but are instead using that time to work and get a jump-start on the next, busy week ahead. In her article, Gregoire cited blogger Laura Vanderkam, who had this to say about the sixty hours between 6 p.m. on Fridays and 6 a.m. on Mondays: "That’s plenty of time for fun, relaxation and more importantly, recharging the batteries."

I'm not a "worker" in the sense that I get up each Monday and go to an office, but I do work from home and often feel stressed trying to juggle work and home/parenting commitments, especially as I try to minimize the amount of work I do on weekends.  Her words, and those of Gregoire's, inspired me to make more of an effort to not only enjoy my weekends, but to enjoy them with my family.

Since I love my Saturday morning trail runs, I was thrilled when our trail-group leader here in Okinawa organized a weekend "family" hike. Trail running is one of my favorite weekly activities, but it's an activity which excludes my family members and therefore takes time away from them. I usually justify my time out on the trails by insisting that my husband and daughters are asleep anyway. My husband and daughters have never complained about my absences on weekend mornings, but a little guilt often lingers—so the family hike would be an opportunity to share my love of the trails with him, as well as our nine- and 19-year-old daughters.

Though he’s not a runner, my husband shares my passion for being outdoors, and was particularly keen for our youngest daughter to join us on the hike. “She needs to experience the outdoors, get away from the urban build-up and see Mother Nature up close,” he said.

His comment brought to mind a couple of incidents I witnessed earlier this summer. One involved a group of kids at a beachside camping site watching movies in their parent’s minivan, and the other involved a friend’s teenage son who sat fuming by the side of a public swimming pool, because his parents had forced him to take a break from his video games. Today’s generation of kids seem to prefer the lure of indoor entertainment over outdoor activities, and both my husband and I are dead set against letting that happen to our daughters.


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