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March 4, 2013
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Kristen James: Finding a life of adventure

When I was one
I sucked my thumb
The day I went to sea,
I climbed aboard a pirate ship
and the Captain said to me:
We go this way, that way, forwards, backwards,
over the Irish Sea,
A bottle of rum
to fill my tum
and that's the life for me!

Remember when Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) said that at the end of the last "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie? It makes me think our four younger boys having their fun, exploring, adventuring and always asking, “What if…?”

They have a secret jungle in the Rhoadies out back and a giant igloo made of sticks out front, in the very far corner of the yard. It’s as far away from the house as you can get.

Ironically, they have never seemed to care that everyone going by can see their fort, at least the outside of it. It has giant tree stump tables and chairs, and even chairs built into the walls. They’ve been building on it for at least two years now.

As a kid, I had “the woods” behind my house: a big, wild wooded area full of giant firs, a few apples trees, the “jumps” for our bikes, the bear hole and the maze through the blackberries at the edges. We spent hours at a time out there, building forts up in the trees or bushes, riding our bikes and being kids.

It’s a common expression that people need to “grow up,” but do you ever wonder if maybe we need to “grow down?” Kids know what they want. They don’t like spending time on tasks without an end result. They want to build, to go, to experience, to live.

I know it sounds silly to say we should be like kids, but the idea isn’t that crazy.

Many people I know have built a lifestyle business, where they use their passion to build their career.

Joanna Penn in London makes a living teaching authors about book publishing and marketing, on top of being an author. She travels and does what she loves. Many experts leave their fields to be speakers and authors. Some people take a hobby and turn it into a business, such as selling handmade canoes, outdoor guiding for anglers and hunters, or even becoming a tour guide. We know a man who loves to travel, and he’s spent many years taking groups of tourists around America. He takes trips all over the world and works when he needs to.

I’ll concede things get complicated when kids are involved, but many people make it work just as well. I’ve talked to parents who took their kids out of school for a year, home schooled and traveled America. Don’t you think that will teach them more than five years of regular school?

I haven’t made it that far yet, but I strive to “adventure” with the kids as much as possible. We hike, camp and go on short trips. We grow food and go pick all kinds of berries at Kruse Farms. We discuss the family businesses, the books they read, their games and things they learn at school. I try to teach them that the best education is the one you give yourself, on top of your formal education. We don’t tell our kids they need to go to college and get a good job. We tell them to find what they want to do and make it happen, whether that’s college or starting a business, or their own unique blend.

It’s the adventure spirit in all aspects of life. And that’s the life for me!

Kristen James is married with six children. Read her Mondays on Douglas County Moms. Also check out her personal website here.

We spent hours at a time out there, building forts up in the trees or bushes, riding our bikes and being kids.

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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:29PM Published Mar 12, 2013 09:04AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.