lessons learned: Nature’s therapy for teenage girls

Go out, go out I beg of you    
And taste the beauty of the wild.    
Behold the miracle of the earth    
With all the wonder of a child. 

~Edna Jaques

This weekend, I was given a great gift by Nature.  Nature turned my serious, observant 13-year-old daughter into a silly little girl again, a treasure I have tucked away in my heart.

If you have never raised a teen girl, you may make a lot of assumptions about the moodiness, the awkwardness, and the ego-centricities of her nature, and you would be right.  But what you also may not grasp is the fine dance young girls do daily in order to learn the intricacies of being raised as a young woman in a world that places so many different challenges on our gender–the stereotypes and expectations to be smart enough to bring home the bacon, domestic enough to fry it up in a pan, and sexy enough to sell it in print media.

I say all that to note too that blossoming into a young woman, simply put, is hard.  And so, going for a hike on Saturday with my daughter allowed life to be easy for awhile.

She climbed fallen trees, played hide and seek among the rhododendron, and splashed in the water.  Down deep inside her, she found the laugh of a four-year-old and let it loose a time or two.  She teased her mom, she giggled at herself.  She was sassy and silly and anything but serious.

Funny how Nature does that–She brings out the best in us.  She allows us to forget the struggles and concerns in life and focus on simple things like play and exploration and joy–even in a teenage girl.

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