January 19

Climbing Mountains, Part 2

In our literature discussion yesterday, I asked the #Meliora students whether they and their peers would be interested in climbing Mt Everest, the subject of Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air . The students’ interaction around that question prompted one of them to observe, “people don’t talk about climbing Mt Everest very much anymore.”

I asked them why they thought that was. The nearly-unanimous conclusion was that people, especially of their age, are too caught up in entertainment, gaming, and social media. “They aren’t interested in going outside for an adventure.”

This analysis made me sad. So, I decided to delve into the topic a bit, to see what the evidence says. I’m feeling happier now! In their 2017 report, the Outdoor Foundation reported that participation in outdoor recreation actually grew modestly between 2015 and 2016. 1% more boys between the ages of 6 and 17 participated in outdoor pursuits, although conversely 1% fewer girls in the same age range did so.

Looking at the longer-term trends, the participation rates have stayed relatively stable for the past decade. Somewhere between 48% and 50% of the American population has gone outdoors for an adventure at least once a year, and in 2016, “[a]lmost half of Americans were moderately active in outdoor recreation, getting outside between 12 and 103 times per year.”

[Linksters grow up as] overprotected and suffocated youths during a secular crisis; matures into risk averse, conformist rising adults; produces indecisive midlife arbitrator-leaders during a spiritual awakening; maintains influence (but less respect) as sensitive elders.

Likewise, in a fascinating analysis most recently updated in 2006, Ron Watters argues that there are four generational cycles that follow a (mostly) predictable pattern. These patterns apply to outdoor adventure-seeking as predictably as to other domains. He identifies the “Linksters” (or Generation Z) as part of the “adaptive” generation, and asserts this generation grows up as “overprotected and suffocated youths during a secular crisis; matures into risk averse, conformist rising adults; produces indecisive midlife arbitrator-leaders during a spiritual awakening; maintains influence (but less respect) as sensitive elders.”

Now I can simultaneously feel guilty about how I raised my sons (technically, my oldest is a millennial), and also know that trends are forever in flux.

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Posted January 19, 2019 by inspirepassion in category #DigiWriMo

About the Author

I am a process-focused leader who uses collaboration, authenticity, and mentoring as key skills to inspire passion among learners of all ages. Aggregate eclectic professional experiences have honed my ability to coach others in designing and implementing courses of study using inquiry-/project-based learning (PBL).

2 thoughts on “Climbing Mountains, Part 2

  1. inspirepassion (Post author)

    I agree with your assessment, Kevin. It seems like the MAJORITY of kids these days have some level of anxiety. I accept that we have increased awareness, which is part of the reason. But, I also think as a society we are feeding it.

    The media doesn’t help, hyping up and dramatizing events to the point that parents develop the mindset that stalkers and abductors are on every street corner.

    When my own kids express anxiety (e.g.”This course is really hard”), I try to get them to apply the most basic CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) techniques. “What is the worst thing that could happen?” “Fail the course.” “Ok, if you fail the course, then what?” “I could take it over.” Most everyday problems are not as insurmountable as they initially seem.

    Yeah, that geolocation thing… There are a few issues with that. First, the parent is automatically projecting a lack of trust. Second, they are implying kids should be afraid of the world. Third, they are not respecting kids’ need for autonomy nor respecting boundaries.

    I have a friend who has a “Ring” doorbell, and she gets notified anytime anyone enters or leaves her house, including her husband and two adult sons! I told her I find it creepy, that I would consider it an invasion of my privacy if other members of my family knew every time I go in and out of my house.

  2. dogtrax

    In our afternoon session of Professional Development, we had a psychologist lead us into an examination of anxiety and how best to reach what seems to be a growing number of kids with anxiety issues (which lead to depression later in life).

    Her most poignant point — told over and over — is that too many of our accommodations — in school, at home — for anxious kids is making the problem worse, not better. Protecting kids from situations that create anxiety actually feeds the anxiety, and her advice and method is to give kids tools to navigate anxious moments. She railed most particularly against parents who have apps that geolocate their kids as monitoring device.

    Your look at Linksters reminded me of this, for it is all connected, I think.



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