Friday, March 1, 2013

Tom Sawyer, Boys, and the Spirit of Adventure

            It was a long holiday weekend, and a good friend asked me to go with her to the “River.”  The River is the Colorado River between California and Arizona.  In the vastness of desert where the sun shines warm no matter what time of year, river rats ride Sea-Doos, water ski, or float lazily in pontoon boats over sparkling water.  And, yet, my sheepish reply was, “I have to think about it.”  But knowing me well, she giggled and asked, “What’s there to think about?”  

Having so much fun in Parker, Arizona
            The truth was, I had nothing to ponder.  I had the entire weekend off, nothing pressing regarding school, and I had no other pending obligations or responsibilities.  Why did I not jump at the chance to go?  Because, as my friend knew, I was averse to trying new things, especially if it appeared anything close to adventure. 

Week long trip to San Francisco, CA to watch Skate America
             My friend was right, and I was grateful she questioned my senseless reply.  I had to say yes!  Needless to say, it was so much fun.  Thanks to my friend, she got me out of my shell numerous times, and together we had countless adventures.   Oh, to be young and free! 

Never actually had tickets to see the Grateful Dead in Las Vegas, NV
             Fast forward to today: I am a mom of five.  I am not much for adventure, and even more so now because motherhood has caused me to prefer a conservative and protective lifestyle.  So when I read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I celebrated it.  There is safety in reading about adventure through the lives of others.

Last minute decision to go to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA
             In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain commemorates the “life of a boy”: full of curiosity, imagination, ingenuity, valor, boldness, and boundless energy.  His natural desire is for adventure.  Tom Sawyer may be naughty from time to time, but he shows great character at the right time; and rightly so because it is his integrity that will demonstrate his ability to be a good man. 

Cannot believe we actually went to Tijuana, Mexico...often
            While reading Tom Sawyer, I thought about boys today and wondered if they are still made the same way or if our culture is changing so drastically that boys are deterred from following their natural desire for adventure and valor and imagination.  I thought of a recent incident in which a young schoolboy was punished for pretending to throw an imaginary grenade at an invented enemy in order to “save the earth.”  It is this silliness that concerns me; we are smothering the hearts of little boys, and  compromising their true character: heroic and brave, resourceful and able, ingenious and resilient. 

Enjoying the sun while skiing in Big Bear, CA
             The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a noble read, and perfect to be read aloud to our young boys especially.  Let us not ever allow our boys to lose their spirit to discover, to pretend, to defend, to conquer, to be courageous, or to seek adventure.   And that goes for me, too, as I am raising a pirate, a knight, an astronaut…

May we never lose our spirit for adventure.

Morning after New Year's Eve in
Las Vegas, NV

Dedicated to one of my partners in adventure: Milan.
Thanks for getting me out of my shell!

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