Bestselling author Caroline Paul’s new book, The Gutsy Girl, is a how-to guide for parents to push through the anxiety and let their kids take acceptable risks outdoors.
It’s never too early—or late—to raise girls to be fearless and adventuresome. “I want to gird girls with life lessons of bravery and resilience before puberty, before the real pressures kick in: to be liked at all costs, to look pretty, to be perfect,” says Paul, whose own madcap childhood escapades included trying to set the Guinness World Record for crawling when she was 13 years old. (The distance to beat was 12 miles; nearly hypothermic, she quit at mile eight.) “Going outdoors gives you confidence and self-esteem to handle the teenage years, and it carries into womanhood, too,” Paul says. “Nature doesn’t care what you look like or if you’re popular or nice. What it cares about is if you’re a good team player.”
The most awesome part of the awesome message of Gutsy Girl? “Bravery is learned,” Paul says. Build it into our girls’ hearts, brains and bodies now and we’ll raise a new generation of badass female forces. Here are ten ways to teach our girls and ourselves.