Lessons in the trees

This weekend our dive team went on a field trip.  I thought John would enjoy it when I signed him up but I didn’t realize just how much he would love it.

The park has 10 courses through the trees of varying levels of difficulty. Each one consists of rope bridges and obstacles and zip lines between tree platforms. At John’s age (7) he could do the three easiest courses alone and the harder ones with an adult.

He was amazingly good at navigating these courses. He blew through the three easy courses (which were actually much more difficult than I expected) and did one of the harder courses with on of the dads on the trip.

As I watched him I realized this course highlighted a lot of his personality traits. He’s a great listener and very methodical. The safety harness involved a great deal of patience as with each step they had to unhook and hook onto the lines. A lot of the kids John’s age got frustrated with this procedure and with having to wait at each challenge for the person in front to complete it. John has the mind of an engineer and I think he actually enjoyed the whole “machinery” aspect.

The course required a certain amount of bravery. John was fearless. He likes trying new things and showed no hesitation at any of the challenges. The few times it was hard for him, he never complained or made excuses. Once, when he was on the harder course, he was stuck on a ladder. It appeared that he simply was not tall enough to reach the next rung. The other parents who were with him thought he should stop and I went to get a staff member to bring a ladder to get him down. The staff member who came said he thought that John could do it if he wanted to try again. He did and was able to figure it out as the staff member talked him through it from the ground.

John has dabbled in multiple sports and each time he plays on a team it’s apparent that he isn’t the best or most talented player. But what we hear always hear from the coaches is that he tries hard, has a good attitude and doesn’t get frustrated when it’s hard. I have to say that those qualities make H. and I more proud than any innate athletic ability would. The same qualities were very apparent as he took on the challenge of this course.

After we were done, we all went out to dinner at a local BBQ joint. Most of the other kids were older divers, or were families that have been on the team for several years and knew each other well. John is very much an introvert and I wasn’t surprised that initially he wanted to sit with me instead of at the kids’ tables. I was appreciative when another mother asked her son to come and invite him to sit with them. He went and although I could tell he was nervous, he quickly started talking and laughing and fit in fine. Being an introvert myself, I knew that required more bravery on his part than swinging though the trees and I was quite proud of him.

2 thoughts on “Lessons in the trees

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