Every year, we take our 7th graders to a national park about 100 miles from our school. We stay in tents, visit a nearby village, and do all kinds of activities to help them experiment outside the bounds of their comfort zones.
One of the five main activities in which the kids participate is the high ropes course. This particular course has a series of six challenges strung 20 meters above the forest floor. The afternoon that we went, the whole area was immersed in a fog that gave it an eerie feel. Our kids did an incredible job on it!
Afterward, when we were debriefing, one boy mentioned something that really made me think. He talked about how he had originally been scared of the course, and hadn’t wanted to do it. He talked about how he watched his friends do it, and how watching them do it made him willing to try. And then he talked about how, once he was up there, it wasn’t that bad. That he was glad he had done it.
I considered how broadly this can be applied to our lives. First of all, that once we try things, we often are glad we did. That things aren’t as scary as they look. Secondly, though, it is a good reminder that we have huge influence on those around us. By being willing to step up and do something, step up and stand up for someone, step up and talk about something difficult, we give others the voice, motivation, and courage needed to do the same.