The Road on the Map – A Parenting Analogy 1


Utah has many wonderful places to visit.  One of the goals that we’ve had as a family is to see as many of these places as we can.  The Uinta Mountains are gorgeous, and we’ve been exploring them. We are also trying to find good fishing spots.  One thing that everyone talks about is the beauty of fishing in a high mountain pond.  We found a road on the map that we thought might take us to one.

In life there are many different paths we can follow.  Once we find a road on the map, what happens if it doesn't work?

We’ve visited many lakes that people go to regularly.  We’ve been to Moon Lake.  We’ve been to Upper Stillwater Reservoir.  We’ve been to Flaming Gorge.  These are all LARGE bodies of water off of main roads.  We wanted to find a smaller pond in the mountains to go fishing.

This is a map of the Uinta Mountains.  We've been to Upper Stillwater, Moon Lake and Flaming Gorge.  Can we make it to Kidney Lake?

This is a map of the Uinta Mountains. We’ve been to Upper Stillwater, Moon Lake and Flaming Gorge. Can we make it to Kidney Lake?

We looked at the map of the Uinta Mountains, and found a lake between Upper Stillwater and Moon Lake.  Hmm, Kidney Lake looks fun.  Now, many of the lakes in the Uinta Mountains don’t have any roads going to them, they are in a wilderness area.  For most people, that’s not a problem, but when you have five young children, a long hike really isn’t going to work.  So, I plugged Kidney lake into Google Maps. This is what I found:

Now, this map makes it look like getting to Kidney Lake is possible by car, with a little hike at the end.  Before we started, we knew that Google Maps isn’t always right.  We also knew that we didn’t know what was at the end of that road.  We didn’t know if there would be a trail or not.  Looking at a topography map, it was apparent that we would be hiking down a steep incline, but if there’s a trail that’s an okay thing to do.  We also had decided beforehand that if we didn’t make it, that would be okay as well.

The views from the road on the map were just beautiful!

The views from the road on the map were just beautiful!

We plugged the information into our GPS and headed out.  At first, the road was just fine.  The area was beautiful.  Then, we started climbing.  We kept climbing and climbing and climbing.  We found a log across the road.  We weren’t able to move it, so, we carefully maneuvered around it.  And we kept climbing.  We finally came to a steep ascent.  Another tree was down across the road, but there was a steep bank on the other side, and we couldn’t maneuver around it.  That was the end of the road for us.

The log, all the way across the road.  We were able to work our way around it.

The log, all the way across the road. We were able to work our way around it. When we come to obstacles, sometimes we can work around them.

We didn’t make it to Kidney lake, and reviewing the topography map afterwards, I don’t think we would have been able to even if we had made it to the end of the road.  Apparently the only way to Kidney Lake is hiking from Moon Lake.  But, that’s okay.  We had a fun outdoor adventure with the family.  We saw some beautiful country.  We learned more about some roads in the Uinta Mountains.

A beautiful columbine flower next to the road on the map.

A beautiful columbine flower next to the road on the map.

Now, what does this have to do with being a parent?  We don’t always know what’s at the end of the road that we are traveling.  We can research and find information, and we can do our best, but everything doesn’t always work out correctly.  But, we need to know that it’s worth the effort. Sometimes, we will come to obstacles, and we can work around them.  Sometimes, we have to stop what we are doing and turn around.  It didn’t work, let’s do something else. Even if we don’t make our goal, the joy is in the journey.

We were at a very high altitude.  The views were amazing!

We were at a very high altitude. The views were amazing!

This can apply to many things in our life.  Maybe we are trying a new activity.  We thought that our child would LOVE basketball, but it just isn’t right for her.  This is okay!  Let’s try this new chore management system.  Ohh, it’s not working?  Try something else.  But, what did we learn from all of this?  We learned what works and what doesn’t.  We learned more about our children.  We learned more about us.  We can always turn around and try something different.


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