I first read about The Dangerous Book for Boys by brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden in a post by Susan Wagner at ParentDish, here. It caused quite a stir, and from reader comments, I knew it was something I wanted to check out for myself. Why? Because I’m mom to three boys, all wild, brave and fearless.
Here’s a snapshot from last Sunday: Mother’s Day. As is our family tradition, we drove two hours north to Glacier National Park for a hike. Tom carried Avery in the Kelty pack, Carter was in the lead, and Bennett and I brought up the rear, all of us walking along the park’s scenic highway, Going-to-the-Sun Road. Locals use this time, before the final snow removal, to bike or walk as close to the summit as the weather allows.
It was a warm, sunny afternoon. The air was crisp and clear and smelled like pine and cedar. Bennett walked beside me. He wore an elk horn whistle on a leather strap around his neck and in his left hand, he held three plastic straws with suction-cup tips, arrows. Slung across his chest was a yellow plastic archery bow. His right hand held mine. We walked together up the road, and he told me, “If I see a snakey, Mommy, I’ll blow my whistle. Then I’ll shoot an arrow. I’ll get him, Mommy. Don’t be afraid.”
I repeated, with seriousness, “Yes. Whistle first, then arrow. You’re very brave.”
A man on a bicycle rode past slowly, and nodded with appreciation at the bow, the arrows. “You’ve got good protection,” he said to Bennett. Bennett grinned at the man as he rode on. Then another, younger man came by, “Nice whistle, buddy!” he said. Another, older man: “What a brave boy!” Bennett basked in the attention, as these men remembered their own boyhoods with fondness that extended to him.
And he is brave; all three of my sons are. I want them to carry this bravery into adulthood; honoring what they know in their hearts, always able to find their own true north. It begins with imagination–kids-only tree forts protected with booby traps made of branches and leaves, battles with water balloons fought and won, confidence built from the ground up, one dangerous adventure at a time.
Other moms are writing about this book today, for a MotherTalk Blog Bonanza. Go here for a list of places to visit.