All of us at Adventure Treks would like to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, or whichever celebratory occasion(s) best fits your family!
For our family, these two weeks are a concentrated time to relax, slow down, reflect and extract a deeper meaning for our time on earth. It’s also nice to take a much-needed break from the daily logistics involved in making home, school, community, and businesses succeed. With our oldest daughter normally away at school, just having our entire family together for two weeks will be a treat.
This is a time to remember the many things for which I am grateful; disconnect as much as feasible from phone, social media and news; and spend as much time outdoors, enjoying whatever winter weather we may get in our southern Appalachian mountains.
Although we celebrate the culture of the “rugged individual” in the United States, the reality of 21st century life is that we make it through any given day because we “get by with a little help from our friends.” Our family is probably similar to yours, in that we rely on formal and informal networks of people who help us out on a daily basis.
I’m always appreciative of the many folks who formally help teach and serve as role models for our kids: teachers; principals; soccer, cross country and basketball coaches; Camp Pinnacle counselors; Adventure Treks instructors; music teachers; grandparents; neighbors; and the parents of my children’s friends. Our kids are growing into solid young adults because of the added influence of all these fine people who make daily investments into our kids’ lives.
I am especially grateful for the informal network of parents who band together to help make any given day function. Our kids’ schools all seem to be 35 minutes apart. We have travel soccer, indoor soccer, ski team, public meetings, and endless volunteer commitments to schools and community—and we are no different from many families. Our lives work only because of a network of parents who help each other out and treat our kids as their own.
One thing I love about my wife, Jane, is her awareness of other parents’ needs: Whenever we pick up one of our kids, she immediately looks to see how she might make another family’s day slightly easier by grabbing their kids, too. It’s not uncommon for me to have no idea who has my kids at any moment, or how many kids I might be adding to a carpool at the last second. I marvel at Jane’s logistical brain and her ability to make sure the car I am driving matches the number of seats needed for any given pick-up!
And we are lucky to have friends with similar mindsets who look out for our family in the same way. And though we all may have different parenting styles, and even differing world views, I always know every child is being treated as if he or she were a fully fledged member of the host family. And I know we are all keeping an eye on each others’ kids. And this feels really good.
So this season, I am especially grateful to the many families who informally help Jane and me parent our children. I’m thankful for the communitarian mindset that facilities and enables this “village” we so rely on. By looking beyond our own needs and working toward a common good—and by treating each kid as if they were our own—everyone’s family has benefited exponentially.
From all of us at Adventure Treks, happy holidays, and here’s to a great 2017. Thank you for being an extended part of our Adventure Treks family and for sharing your kids with us!
– John Dockendorf, executive director