How to Live an Adventurous Life With Your Kids in Six Easy Steps
Would you like to live an incredibly adventurous life with your kids?
Are you willing to burst out of your rut to live it?
It’s not that complicated. Living a life of incredible adventure is something that anyone can do.
The problem is most of us overthink it. We spend too much time talking, planning and worrying about outcomes.
The key is to “just do it!” Just go after those things that inspire or even challenge you, and experience them with the people you love—like your kids.
In this article, I’ll share six tips I gleaned from Bob Goff’s book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World, which inspires ordinary people like you and me not to just dream about doing things, but to step out in faith and start living life to the fullest.
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
The theme of this book is love. Not the kind of love that stops at fuzzy thoughts and feelings. But the kind that takes action and makes an impact. This kind of love is not safe. It’s risky and beautiful and makes you do stuff.
The reason why Goff can speak of love and living incredibly at the same time is his own faith. His understanding of how God loves people empowers him to live a life of full engagement, adventure and excitement.
Regardless of your own beliefs, Love Does shares valuable lessons to help you live a more adventurous life with your family.
A Secret Message for Parents
This book is for anyone who wants to understand how to live an extraordinary life. Yet in the way it’s written, one can almost detect a secret message for parents to be truly engaged in their children’s lives.
Unfortunately, in our crazy-busy culture, most parents don’t get it.
They keep planning to do something “fun” with the kids, but along the way, they kind of forget. Their dream to take the family on that amazing trip becomes “We’ll do it next year.”
The sad thing is, life is designed to distract you from what’s truly important. For many, there is no “next year.” Love isn’t stationary. It doesn’t keep postponing or thinking or planning. It just does—Love Does.
Ten-Year-Old Adventures (Best Story)
Let me show you what the author means by “love does.” In the book, there are 30 short stories describing the author’s adventures and experiences. But perhaps the best story for a parent is ‘Ten-Year-Old Adventures,’ (Chapter 20).
Here’s how it goes…
In the early part of their marriage, Goff and his wife (whom he affectionately refers to as “Sweet Maria”) made a pact that when each of their children reached 10, they got to go on a trip with dad. The only rule was that there’d be no planning, no preparation, no thinking about all the details. They would just do it!
When the last son—Adam—turned 10, he wanted to ride a motorcycle across the desert with his dad (they live in California). Any activity where you could lose an eye or a limb was the boy’s love language. So they left the next day.
Long story short, halfway through the adventure, the boy—riding at 60 miles per hour—gets separated from his machine, is catapulted through the air and lands 120 feet away surrounded by the scrap-metal remains of the bike he was riding. As his dad frantically runs over to him, the boy, all banged up and bruised, says to him, “That was awesome!”
And it was. You see, for a 10-year-old boy, that was the biggest event he had experienced in his life. Dads, moms—when was the last time you took up the offer extended by your child and just went?
If you want to live an incredibly adventurous life, you need to respond urgently to your children’s invitations and participate fully in their lives… because their offers to hang out won’t last forever.
Here are 6 simple lessons (gleaned from the book) for living an incredible life with your kids.
#1: Be Present
Don’t just tell your kids “I love you”; do something about it!
The world has a funny way of making you think that love can just be picked up and boxed, or summarized in a Hallmark card. It’s important to be present for them, especially when sacrifice is involved.
#2: Be Audacious
Sometimes you have to go to extremes and express the bright hope that life offers.
That means you may have to be brave and full of abandon.
It means you should reach out to people who are different from you and just be friends. Go to that person and start a friendship! Let your kids see that.
#3: Learn to Fail
You’re nothing until you’ve failed once or twice.
Rather than being afraid of failing at the things that matter, be more afraid to succeed in the things that don’t.
And when you do fail, try again and again until you finally get it right.
Remember, things that go wrong can either shape us or scar us. Which of these will you model for your children?
#4: Launch Others
Words can launch others.
As a parent, you have the power to launch your kids because you’re the right person to say the words that can change everything for them.
#5: Lose the Cape
In the movie The Incredibles, Edna—the eccentric little fashion designer who makes superhero costumes—is always telling Mr. Incredible to “lose the cape.” She shows him video clips of superheroes who wore a cape, and in the end, the cape always caused big problems, like getting caught in something.
As a parent, you can get a lot more done without the cape. An incredible life can happen when you lose the urge to be noticed or admired by people who don’t matter.
Instead, simply do things with your family without the need for recognition or applause from anyone else.
#6: Accept the Invitation
There are lots of things in life you won’t get invited to—like the Oscars or the White House Easter-egg hunt (maybe).
But every morning you wake up, you get the invitation to live a life of complete engagement.
It’s about moving from the bleachers to the field. It’s about having things (or people) matter so much to you that you stop thinking about them and actually do something with them!
Each of us gets to decide every day whether to lean in or step back; to say yes or to ignore the invitation.
Some Final Thoughts…
I really like this book. It’s fun, bold and purposeful. It’s not the kind of book you’ll read and say “Meh.” You’ll either love it and pass it on, or hate it because it’s chock-full of Christian overtones.
But here’s where it gets challenging. I’m writing this book review the night before Thanksgiving. I haven’t spent much time with my kids all afternoon because I want to get all of my work done and be free tomorrow and Friday. But every so often, they peek through the door to ask, “When are you coming down?” The author of this book would say to me, “Accept their invitation.”
So when you read this book (please do!) you’ll be forced to evaluate the things the world says are important, and the things you know in your heart to be important.
And by the way, you don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate Love Does, nor do you need to be offended by it if you’re not. We learn from each other’s shared experiences—even those experiences that don’t resemble our own. So don’t get all bent out of shape when you come across the “Jesus talk.” You can either skip those parts, or open your mind and ask yourself, “What can I learn from this story?”
My Kids Adventures gives Love Does a full five star rating (out of 5).
What do you think? Can you think of a situation where you chose to be present or audacious, to accept failure or turn away from accolades, to lift your kids up and accept their invitations? We’d love to hear about it! Please leave a comment or photo below.
Images from iStockPhoto.
Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She helps business owners craft content that sells. Her blog provides healthcare industry content marketing advice. Other posts by Patricia Redsicker »