I know Bonnie because I know her daughters. I met Liv and Sus while living and working with them in the Grand Staircase. Never have I met women more selfless, self-sufficient, compassionate, strong, capable and outdoor savvy. I wondered how it was possible for two sisters to turn out so utterly amazing. I soon found out.
You should hear the stories Liv and Sus tell of their Mom. She taught them how to slide down glaciers on the balls of their feet, using a stick as a rudder. By excusing them from classes for a day of hiking, she reminded them never to let school get in the way of a good education. She demonstrated the joy of mischievousness when she hid with them, snickering in the pitch black of a lava tube, while other tourists walked by unaware that anyone else was around.
She encouraged confidence by challenging them to jump off of even bigger sand dunes, swim in the even the coldest lakes, and find a way across (or down) even the angriest rivers. And she taught them to appreciate fully the moment they were in, even as they prepared for what might come. If you’d ever had the privilege to hearing these stories you would understand why I deemed Bonnie the perfect candidate for an OutsideMom interview.
Thanks for doing the interview Bonnie. Thanks for emphasizing that outdoor time can teach us about living no matter where we find ourselves. Thanks for reminding us of the value of spontaneity and the importance of throwing structure out the window.
Why did you emphasize the outdoors when raising your girls?
Being outside teaches children to see themselves in context. In the built environment of the city, everything natural is controlled. I think children in the city eventually come to believe that control of everything is their right, and even (sadly) their responsibility. It burdens them with an inflated sense of their own importance.
If you think about it, it’s just cruel. In the natural world, they are one part of something bigger. Their individual contribution makes a difference and can change things, but it doesn’t bring down the house if they make a mistake. They are free to play, act, wonder, discover and experiment and to learn the consequences of doing just that. For city kids, the loss of a life is an earth-shattering event. For a natural kid, it’s part of a never-ending, life-affirming pattern. (more…)