“You can do it, B!”
It was the fourth time my son’s friend got on the platform for the zip line at a local ropes course. We were celebrating G’s 9th birthday. The plan was to have the boys go through the course, eat some ice cream, and then go home for some pizza and a sleepover.
I watched the boys go through the course with my soon-to-be-ex-husband. It’s one of those activities that I can’t do with my boys. The height and the fear of falling is too much for me. While I have no problem riding in tiny planes to Boston or in developing countries, I get dizzy when I’m up high and nothing is around me.
I could feel B’s pain. He said he didn’t have a problem with heights. He seemed to be fine on the platforms, but he was timid about going over some of the shaky features of the ropes course. He sat out some and tried others. Three times he went to the higher platform for the zip line, got hooked up, and said no.
I stood below watching his grit and determination. I was ready to take a photo and text it to his mom. His fear would kick in, and he’d politely decline to go.
But he kept going back up. He wanted to go on that zip line.
When he got up to the platform on that fourth time, the staff member was determined to get him to complete his trip. She talked with him about how to approach the zip line and asked him about his fears. She had him sit in his safety gear and feel how the line would hold him. The other boys would go up and show him how it’s done on the zip line next to his. Each tried to get B to leave the platform, but he would stand there frozen.
There were many people cheering B on as he stood on that platform. He stood there for what seemed to be an eternity as kids and adults continued to zip by him on the other line. He didn’t leave, but he didn’t jump off the platform either. He stood quietly thinking.
It made me think about how our fears can control our thoughts and actions (or inaction) in life.
Sometimes you hold on for dear life and muster up a smile.
If you don’t try, you won’t know what you can do.
When you are ready – if you ever are ready – you take that jump.
And usually it’s not as bad as you thought it would be.
In fact, it might be far better than you ever imagined.
You might just turn around and do it again. Or try something even bolder.
When my son’s friend finally made it off the platform and zip lined off into the sunset (it was getting late at that point!), everyone at the ropes course cheered. It was huge.
B may have been a little embarrassed, but he was mostly proud. And he should have been. At that point, he had gone too far not to jump off that platform. Declining that fourth attempt wasn’t an option.
On the ground, I told him how proud I was of him and how I shared his accomplishment with his mom by text. He just quietly smiled at me. Though I’m sure he wished he was able to do it sooner, it was better late than never.
Courage won out and the fears were quieted.
Have you taken a jump like this in life?