Thursday, July 11, 2013

On the Ropes

If ever there were a metaphor for parenting, our experience Tuesday on the ropes course fits the bill. Three little adventurers, traversing obstacles before my very eyes--while I was only able to watch, pray and shout encouragement.
The ropes are not my favorite thing. I will do them, but since my husband relishes the opportunity for adventure with our kids, I chose to stay on the ground and watch/photograph/encourage.

There were so many lessons as I watched each of them handle various challenges with different responses. My K found a group of high school/college girls and seemed emboldened by being with them.

At each intersection she asked the ropes worker which path was more difficult--then she took it!
When she came to the zip line at the conclusion, she purposefully attempted to go upside down--just for the thrill.

  The boys were in the group after her. They moved through with far more bravery that I have--and each encountered a little trouble once along the way. Although they took the same path, their struggles were in completely different areas--and their responses were wildly different as well.

When R was fearful he lashed out in anger. Even as my husband was making his way over to help get him back on track, R was yelling angrily (and irrationally) at him. It was his choice to take on the course--yet when he ran into trouble, his default was to blame the very one who loves him most and was in a position to rescue him. It's a tale as old as time about our response to those we love--and the One who loves us. Why do we do this?
Once he was back on track he reasserted his independence and even jumped off the zipline with courage and boldness.
P handled his adventure yet another way. When he got stuck it was because his foot slipped. Once seated on the wire, he realized he was simply too tired to pull himself back up. Frustrated, exhausted tears ensued that attracted quite a crowd at camp. (Things tend to echo here in the mountain valley.)
As my husband made his way to him to provide a little lift two dozen high school kids started chanting P's name. Although it warmed this mama's heart, it did little to help P. Despite their chants, he was still stuck and in need of a rescuer with strength beyond his own.
When they reached the final leg, P chose to stick close to his Dad. With renewed courage he jumped and shouted with joy at having completed this trial.
It was awesome to watch Young Life leader's take this same approach with their frightened high school friends. As they offered companionship, encouragement and help I appreciated the role they play even in the every day life of these teenagers.
As my little group reached the end they exchanged high fives and excitedly swapped stories of their adventure--reveling in their accomplishment despite overcoming obstacles. Life, like this course, is fraught with obstacles, challenges and moments of exhilaration that we face and respond to differently. May we finish well with stories to tell of our journey!


Kelly @ Love Well said...

I love this. And I suspect it's the same ropes course I did, many years ago, as a youth leader. It was INTENSE. (Back then, it ended with a free-fall jump, sort of like a bungee jump. I like the zip line idea better.) I'm so proud of your kiddos.

LeighAnn said...

Jennifer, you really do have a gift for writing. Just beautiful.