Help Your Kids Live A Life Of Bold Adventure

Help Your Kids Live A Life Of Bold Adventure

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 8:38am
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What were some of your most memorable adventures as a kid? How do your kids’ adventures compare to yours?

According to an article published by the Washington Post in 2015, “There’s Never Been a Safer Time to Be a Kid in America.” Yet, even with greater safety, most parents allow their kids to explore less and have less independence than kids in previous generations. Is this focus on safety really helping our kids, or do we need to loosen our grip on our children in order to help grow into adults who take healthy risks?

Our February virtue is “Bold Adventurer.” The basic definitions of “bold” and “adventurer” involve taking risks.

As Christians, we don’t need to make risked based decisions in fear. God calls to “be not afraid” because he is always with us:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

God loves it when we use what we have and risk it boldly for his glory. Jesus makes that clear in the “Parable of the Talents,” where the worthy servant risked what he had to serve his master and was entrusted with more, while the servant that did not act because of fear, lost what had been entrusted to him.

We are called to develop our children in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. This means teaching them about God’s goodness, taking them on adventures, and encouraging them to boldly seek their own adventures.

1. Teach Your Kids to Love Adventures.

Tell your children about your greatest adventures. Tell them stories of other people’s adventures, both real and fictional. Watch and read inspiring, adventure-filled movies and books like the Chronicles of Narnia.

The Bible is the best place to teach your kids about real adventure. It is full of people who knew God and took great risks in order to be obedient to what God called them to do—people like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, David, Esther, Mary, Peter, Stephen, and Paul, just to name a few.

2. Take Your Kids on Adventures.

Take them hiking, climbing, or exploring. Find your way through the woods or through a new city without using your phone. Try water and snow sports—paddleboarding, surfing, tubing, jet skiing, snowboarding, skiing.

This quote by Bob Goff Inspired me to take each of my kids on an avenursdome trip to celebrate their 10th birthdays.

“I think a father’s job, when it’s done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children’s lives, and whisper, ‘Where do you want to go?’ Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us.” - Bob Goff

I have taken my oldest three kids on a “10-Year-Old Trip.” These adventures have changed our relationships forever. For each boy, it was an overnight canoe trip to the Eleven Point River. Both turned into more of an adventure than we ever planned. I took my daughter to New York City for her 10-Year-Old Trip. While that was a much different trip, we also had a bit of a life threatening experience when we took a bicycle cab (complete with a disco ball) down 5th Avenue in rush hour. Of course, these adventure trips are not just for dads. Our 10-Year-Old Trips made such an impact on our kids that my wife later took each of our oldest children on a 13-Year-Old Trip.

3. Encourage Your Kids to Go on Adventures.

We can teach our children about boldness and take them on adventures, but we also have to encourage them to take their own adventures. We can encourage them to try new things and take age-appropriate risks. It’s never too early to jump further, run faster, bicycle farther, read deeper, play longer, laugh harder, or take more responsibility. See this month’s calendar and the attached list of simple challenges and bold adventures for ideas of how to encourage your children to be Bold Adventurers.

Of course we can take risks and gain things for ourselves, but those gains are nothing if we miss Jesus and his purpose for our lives. Matthew 13:44 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” This man took a huge risk with great joy! Why? Because he knew had gained something of endless supply that would last forever. The same is true when we put all our trust in Jesus.

It is a responsibility and a joy to train our children to use what they have been given for God’s glory, so they learn to risk what they cannot keep to gain what they could never lose (as Jim Elliot famously said).

Have you taken bold adventures with your kids, or do you have ideas for future adventures? We’d love to hear some of your bold adventures in the comments section below.


What boys should be doing now to promote independence, responsibility and curiosity?

  • Pick out clothes the night before
  • Put tote bag in ready-set-go position
  • Dress themselves and undress themselves
  • Put on and zip up jackets
  • Drink from a regular cup
  • Prepare cold cereal
  • Learning to make simple decisions (picking foods from 2 choices)
  • Carry on a conversation taking turns
  • Play board games with counting, dice, markers
  • Sit through church
  • Help wash car
  • Yard work
  • Pick up sticks
  • Dig holes
  • Daily chores (dust, wipe things)
  • Feed pets
  • Color Picture
  • Brush hair
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash and dry hands
  • Blow nose
  • Wipe nose
  • Help shop at the grocery
  • Help put up groceries
  • Help make bed
  • Clean up toys and put back in proper place
  • Clean up spills
  • Clean up food that falls on floor
  • Play in safe areas without constant adult supervision
  • Help set table
  • Sort laundry
  • Help fold sacks
  • Sweep floor (use a small dust pan)
  • Toilet trained
  • Share toys with friends (practice courtesy)
  • Put dirty clothes in laundry
  • Collect trash and debris from yard
  • pack up backpacks each night with folders
  • take dishes to the sink after dinner
  • putting toys away
  • taking trash out
  • making bed
  • help make lunch for the next day
  • setting the dinner table
  • getting mail
  • calling a relative to say hello
  • take a nature walk with no devices
  • ride bikes as a family
  • pack overnight bags for grandparents house
  • check out and return books to public library
  • talking about all the things we learned and practice whenever possible.
  • Making sure that each room is in the same condition as when he entered.
  • Helping when he recognizes the need without being asked.
  • Take a bath by yourself

everything listed above as well as….

  • Do your homework right when you get home from school
  • Walk the dog down the street
  • Unpack the groceries
  • Go to the store and pick out an outfit for yourself
  • Make your own breakfast
  • Check the mail every day
  • Take the trash to the street
  • Set the table
  • Ask for help or directions
  • Teach an outdoor game to a friend
  • Buy a surprise for your parent at the store
  • Cut your own meat
  • Write a thank you note

everything listed above as well as…

  • Total your change at a grocery store without a calculator
  • Fold and put laundry away neatly
  • clear dishes from the dinner table, including rinsing plate and utensils and loading them in the dishwasher
  • Iron their own clothes
  • Rake the leaves
  • Cut the grass
  • Pull the weeds
  • Vacuum your room
  • Make a grocery list
  • Spend time with God every morning
  • Lock up the house for the night
  • Plan a visit to a friend’s house and work out all the details
  • Write a letter to someone

Bold Adventures

  • Pedal a tricycle or bicycle with training
  • Snow ski
  • Hike
  • Camp
  • Put up a tent
  • Water slide
  • Make cookies
  • Help build a fire
  • Ride a pony
  • Build something
  • Try a climbing wall
  • Go fishing
  • Rolling down a hill
  • Climb a tree, wall, or jungle gym
  • Sledding
  • Build a snowman
  • Play in the rain
  • Have a lemonade stand
  • Water balloon fight
  • Plan and make obstacle course
  • Bake mudpies and muffins
  • Build Rock towers
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Play in the sprinklers
  • Investigate your yard with a magnifying glass
  • Plant something
  • Wash a real car
  • Play with the hose
  • Walk dog
  • Pick fruit and vegetables
  • Catch fireflies
  • Make a treasure map
  • Find shapes and animals in the clouds
  • try new foods
  • speak to adults and look them in the eye
  • check mail while a neighbor is out of town and deliver to them when they return
  • join boy scouts
  • try a new sport
  • visit a parent’s workplace to see what they do
  • interview a veteran about his/her experience
  • make and distribute blessing bags to those in need

everything listed above as well as…

  • Pick flowers from outside and give them to someone
  • Make a lemonade stand for charity
  • Go fishing
  • Get all of the ingredients for a cake and bake it
  • Sit with someone new at lunch
  • Climb a tree higher than ever before
  • Buy something with your own money
  • Start a club
  • Get yourself up and ready for school
  • Join a new activity

everything listed above as well as…

  • Plan a night in with your family
  • Learn CPR first aid
  • Help paint a room
  • Build something you can use
  • Build a campfire for your family
  • Open your own bank account
  • Ask neighbors if you can do odd jobs for pay
  • Try whittling
  • Zipline
  • Rock climb
  • Attend a PTA meeting to make suggestions for your school
  • Camp out in the backyard
  • Plan and cook a full meal for your family
  • Pump the gas in your car
  • Make your own appointment for something
  • Go to a museum
  • Go to a play
Last modified on Tuesday, 05 February 2019
Howard Graham

Howard Graham is the Chaplain at PDS and is the Executive Director of the Building Boys, Making Men program. He is married to Kimberley and they have a girl and three boys. He can be reached at

Building Boys, Making Men is a PDS-created program designed to give boys a godly vision and definition of manhood. We believe that boys should be intentionally taught about authentic manhood and have a biblical framework for making wise and edifying choices during their teenage years and beyond. The definition of manhood we teach our boys:

A real man glorifies God by seeking an adventurous life of purpose and passion as he protects and serves others.

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