Story by

Sarah Murdock

August 23rd, 2016

I love having my girls in nature. I love that they enjoy getting dirty, aren't afraid to pick up bugs, or splash in water. I love that they are tough, can walk long distances, and climb steep hills. But why? Why do I place value on these things? When I got the opportunity to talk about why we spend so much time outdoors and why I feel it is important for my girls to be self-confident, I was so excited. I thought, "Wow! I got this. We live for this stuff." Then I came up blank. My thoughts were all over the place. I didn't feel like I could nail down the why.

Why do I want my daughters to be covered in mud? Why do I want them to not only climb big rocks, but also jump off? Why do I want them to be able to hike for miles and enjoy it? Why?

I finally found my answer.

When my girls are outside, they are on fire. There is a light inside them that burns brighter than ever. Why does this matter? Because there is so much in our world that brings us down, that tries to make young girls and women feel like their worth is tied to material goods or their looks. Nature can change that. Exploring and pushing yourself – gaining new skills – can change that. It is so important to instill in our girls a sense of adventure; for them to know that they are capable. So much of a child's self-esteem is shaped at an early age. We have the great privilege of building our girls up so that no one in the world can tear them down.

A lot of my girls' self-confidence comes from what we do on the trails. When we get done with a long hike, they are so excited to talk about how far their strong legs took them. If there is a river or lake near, they push themselves to pick up the biggest rocks they can and hurl it as far into the water as possible. It brings me so much joy to watch them push their limits to see what their bodies are capable of.

Most recently this has made the biggest impact on my oldest daughter. She is four years old and very timid. I used to not be able to get her to do anything unless her younger sister did it as well. The more we get out in nature, the more successes she has on her own and the brighter her light shines. She still has days when she wants someone to be right there next to her, holding her hand, leading the way, but lately she has become more of a leader. This self-confidence is so precious to me. I know it will make a big impact on who she becomes and how she is able to handle the world around her in the future. The pride in her eyes when she calls out to me to watch her climb a rock or balance across a log is absolutely priceless. She is learning that she is capable of doing great things on her own. She is a strong girl who can conquer whatever she puts her mind to.

Every day that we are out in nature is a gift. Every day that my girls can feel their worth, not through worldly goods or their appearance, is a step in the right direction. The world will throw so much at them. It is my joy to help them gain as much confidence in their abilities as they can. It is this confidence that will allow them to not only take care of themselves, but also to have the brightest of futures.

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