My girl wrote the essay below a few weeks ago.
Coach and I make a conscious effort to put our kids in situations that scare them. Sound mean? It's not intended to be. It's intended for fun.
Because fear can be paralyzing, we try to do all we can to counter it and teach the kids to face fear head-on.
We take them cliff-jumping, and canoeing, and whitewater rafting, and mountain climbing so they learn that once you get past the fear of a situation you can enjoy the freedom of it.
Or, if you're me, you can enjoy a trip to the emergency room. And that's okay, because sometimes you have to face the fear of needles. That's what they say anyway.
The cliff jumping is something we do every year mainly because it's fun, but it's also scary for the kids- they have to build their bravery every year to make themselves jump again.
Many times we've wondered if these adventures- the cliff jumping and whitewater rafting- are making a difference. Because if we are going to keep things honest here, there are times the kids are less than enthused about leaving the pool and iPhones and friends behind to go "out in nature for the day" as V says like it's a plague.
But there is always laughter, and occasionally we crash a family reunion or get lost or find the world's best brownie and ice cream along the way.
A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from AC's teacher telling me about an essay she wrote. AC tells it better than I can, so here you go:
When I was younger, I was always jealous of my brother. Not because he got a cell phone before me, or because he got to stay up later than me at night. I was jealous of my brother because he was never scared of the things he wanted to do. If any challenge in life came towards him, he could tackle it, no problem. I on the other hand, was not like that.
Once, when I was about seven years old, my family and I went hiking to this really big, six story high rock surrounded by miles of rock. To a seven year old, that's pretty high.
My brother one…two…three… jump! No problem. My older sister, one…to…three… jump! No problem. “Well, I don’t know. I don’t think I should.” I uncourageously said to my mom. So I sat, eating my peanut butter crackers, while my siblings continued to jump.
On the drive home, I thought about that day and what happened. I knew that mom mom said it was ok that I didn’t jump and that I could do it next time, but that wasn’t what I thought about. I was disappointed in myself.
Looking back on that day, I wish I had jumped.
Recently we went back to the rock, and I jumped.
But, I still regret not jumping that day because without jumping, I never knew what I was missing.
My story does not just apply to jumping of a rock. It can apply to daily life in every one. Two year olds to eighty year olds. We all have a little bit of courage inside of us, and sometimes we need that little something to get it out of us. Today, I encourage you, to jump off that rock into the great adventures that life can bring you. Just because of courage.
You know what I remember?