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5.25 screamfree wonder
May 26, 2016

Is your child a wanderer?

“Not all who wander are lost.”
(J.R.R. Tolkien)

I drove my daughter’s car yesterday, taking it to the auto parts store to get something fixed. Of course, I had to adjust the seat, the side mirrors, and for God’s sake, the radio. The biggest adjustment, however, was the rear view mirror. Like many female college students, my daughter has a large decorative concoction dangling from the mirror, like a chandelier of feathers, jewelry, and hair scrunchies. This was quite the distraction.

While clearing this colorful curtain away to see the road, however, I noticed a quote posted on a small placard, speaking amidst the noisy clutter:

“Not all who wander are lost.”

Now, I know this quote is from Lord of the Rings, but I also know my daughter is the furthest thing from a Frodo fan. So, this placard is not an homage to fantasy literature; for her, it’s a hanging reminder, just at eye level, to live with an adventurous spirit.

Now, some fathers may not like this very much. These dads may be concerned if they see their daughters wandering aimlessly, and giving themselves permission to do so. “Life is about taking responsibility, and pursuing your parents’, I mean your, dreams of success.”

Not me. As a dad, I love the idea that my daughter is, at the very least, striving to both A) encourage herself to explore, and B) actively resist the social labels given to people who don’t have it all figured out. Of course, I’ll admit this is a lot easier when I see my daughter excelling at school, working hard to have enough money to study abroad in Europe later this year, and beginning to dream about a particular career.

What I believe, though, is that all of that is not coincidental. In fact, I see it all the time. Parents who enthusiastically encourage their kids’ exploration, while calmly enforcing the consequences that come with it, often have kids who pursue both adventure, and responsibility, at the same time.

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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