On Sunday, the weather turned out to be much more pleasant than any of us expected. The result? My son proudly announcing that he wants to go hiking! Not only that, but he was very gung-ho and up to the task of undertaking six miles. Allow me to paraphrase:
I want to hike six miles… I won’t even complain on the trail! Then we can do six more miles tomorrow, then maybe six the next day!” -My Enthusiastic Eight Year Old
This was immediately followed by me explaining to my wife that she should locate a shorter trail, because he has no intention of hiking six miles. Not because I don’t believe he can do it, but because I knew that mentally, he wasn’t prepared for it. You see, we’ve taken him on more than enough short hikes to understand that while he is the king of “Let’s do this!” before the act itself, he tuckers out rather quickly and pleads to all that is holy for us to make it to the car before his body goes limp and his whole world fades to black.
We settled on a 3-mile loop, with the promise following his disappointed pleas that we would attempt another 3-mile loop upon successful completion of our current objective. 1.2 miles in to his big adventure, all he wanted was an air conditioner and a Pepsi, presumably for us being evil parents and making him hike, forgetting the fact that this whole thing was his idea. Seems legit.
Despite being sluggish and limping to the end of the trail the way a solider would at the end of a war, he was back to being his old self and telling everyone how much he loves to hike. Therein lies the actual problem…
It’s typically his mental outlook on the situation while on the trail which leads to his state of a dire need to escape the woods, not his physical energy being drained or feet aching or legs cramping up. He may feel one or even a few of these ailments at the time, but the reality is that he is fully capable of hiking six miles. If only he could get beyond the little devil on his shoulder threatening him that he’ll never make it, might be eaten by a bear (we live in Ohio, no bears), or become lost in the woods forever to starve. These are all the actual scenarios he brought up while making his case to exit the forest.
Regardless, we ended up having a pretty good trip. Yes, he did receive a Pepsi on the way out, albeit against my better judgement. And maybe a candy bar to boot. Damn you, parenting skills! Foiled again.