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How do you talk about winter?

One of the things I thought about when I laced up for my pre-dawn, snowy run this morning, was the mindset towards winter in our family. Too often, there is regular banter between adults about "surviving" the "dark", "miserable" winter months - and naturally, their kids develop a similar resistance to the cold.

I feel fortunate to live in a place where winter is revered. There are celebrations to pay homage to Ullr, the Norse God of Winter. Trails are packed down by folks on snowshoes and skis. Hot cocoa, tea, and coffee are consumed by the gallon, and we tuck in to hearty winter meals at the end of the day. Winter is a reason to bundle up and celebrate, and that is exactly how we approach winter in our house.

Why? Because attitude and mindset is everything. If we see winter as a long, bleak, cold stretch of time between Fall and Spring, then that is just what it is going to be, and our kids are going to learn treat it the same way.

Winter is an adventure. The landscape has completely changed. Where we used to walk, we can now ski, snowshoe, and sled. The fort in the backyard is even cozier and more protected, thanks to evergreen boughs, now weighed down with fresh powder. There are animal tracks to follow, bird feeders to fill, and ski and sledding jumps to build.

Every school day we go for a walk before the girls get into their online classes. It is the same route each day and takes us maybe 15 or so minutes. I would say most days, there is some grumbling about going for the walk, but we do it, no matter what the weather. Today, there was zero hesitation as the girls bundled into their snow clothes and we set off into the windy, blowing snow. They "butt sledded" into the ditches on the side of the road, jumped into the deeper piles of snow, and collapsed into an exhausted heap at the top of the sidewalk that hadn't been plowed ("we walked uphill, through snow up to our knees...."). We got home with lungs full of fresh air, red cheeks, awakened legs, and zero complaints.

Think about it. What is your mindset towards winter? Is it a nuisance or an adventure? Do you model the behavior and attitude that you want to see in your kids? Yes, there are some chores that blow in with the snow, but there is a lot of fun too. Focus on the positive and truly enjoy the change of the seasons.

Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy Thanksgiving - stay Wild and Free!


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