3 Ways Trail Family Life Can Build Kids’ Character

Last summer it seemed impossible to me that my daughters would ever learn to ride without training wheels and conquer their fear of falling down. Not only did we move past that hurdle, but we have done 4 bike rides with them so far this summer of at least 11 miles or more. I didn’t even imagine myself going eleven miles in one trip, let alone them. This summer, however, we committed to cultivating the TRAIL FAMILY lifestyle. All of the above happened in a couple weeks time. I get to be the proud mom and also share with you some of the benefits to kids when you cultivate a TRAIL FAMILY lifestyle. 

CONFIDENCE: Our girls are bright and have vibrant personalities. One of them does struggle with being timid when it comes to physical activity. She would shy away from anything where she might fall down and get hurt. Once she determined that she wanted to be out on the trail with all of us, she put in the effort to learn to ride without training wheels. She has wiped out a few times, but after realizing that the bumps and scrapes are not as bad as she feared, she has gotten back on the bike every time. Her confidence has soared, and now we are seeing it translate into other areas of life off of the trail. In the water, she would never go underwater or do something that would possibly result in going under. However, the last time we were in Grandma and Grandpa’s pool, she was jumping and splashing and laughing along with everyone else. She has so much more confidence in her abilities and strength now that she has learned to become a better biker.

“Her confidence has soared, and now we are seeing it translate

into other areas of life off of the trail.”

PERSEVERANCE: Both girls have learned to persevere when they are ready to give up. Perseverance means doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Taking an eleven mile bike ride is difficult for many adults so it is especially difficult to seven and eight-year-olds. The first time out on the trail, we did NOT go eleven miles, we went about four. We increased the distance by small increments each time we went out. As this summer has passed, we have seen our girls grow in strength, which has grown their perseverance. One of the girls does well when we break it down into small chunks. I’ll tell her, “Just make it to that fence” or “the next gate is ahead around that turn”, or “we’ll stop for a drink at the gate.” As you cultivate a TRAIL FAMILY lifestyle, take note of what methods help to motivate your children. They will grow in perseverance right before your eyes. Again, this will translate into character building that they can use off the trail in all areas of life.

RESPECTFULNESS: An area all of us can grow in is respectfulness. As our children spend more time with us doing TRAIL FAMILY activities, it has created a growing respectfulness in them. They learn how to respect the environment around them as they enjoy hiking or biking in nature that does not have trash, or maybe pick up what someone else has left behind. They learn how to respect others on the trail as they learn to step aside as those who are faster are coming through, or how those who are elderly may need time to step aside to let us through. As we do this family activity they learn respect for others in the family as they may need to let one of us rest when everyone else is ready to go. We hope that respectfulness will continue to grow in our children as we continue our TRAIL FAMILY lifestyle. 

What other traits have you seen your children grow in while doing TRAIL FAMILY activities? Have your children been building confidence, perseverance, and respect for the environment and others? How have your TRAIL FAMILY activities helped them in areas off of the trail?

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