October 9, 2014
Her breath caught in her throat as her eyes squinted considering the consequences.
“Mom please, I want to climb the rock wall! Pleeease!”
Sighing...slightly reassured her four-year old daughter would only attempt to climb the wall and not venture too far off the ground she agreed. Quickly turning toward the young man dressed in medieval attire she inquired as to exactly which side of the thirty-six foot tower her daughter would be allowed to ascend. Relieved it would be the side with the most hand and foot holds her shoulders relaxed.
Being told to stand beside a woman dressed like a fairy the child couldn’t take her eyes off other climbers, much older than herself. Patiently she waited, her eyes fixated on them.
“Are you okay?” her mother called from the spectator side of the fence.
“Sure.” The little girl’s voice replied as she intently focused on the imposing wall. Suddenly it was her turn. The fairy attendant helped as the little girl stepped into the harness that would keep her from falling should she lose footing. Dotted with turtles, seashells and various other animal shapes in close proximity to each other the small child gazed up at the haphazard arrangement of colorful objects secured to the wall. Given last minute instructions, her confidence grew as she raised a steady hand up and grasped a yellow moon. Lifting her left foot up the adventurous child was completely off the ground now as her mother sighed. The journey had begun.
That was the scene as my granddaughter scaled the huge rock wall. I knew she could do it and I was certain she knew, too. Using her elbows and knees she determinedly kept climbing. Rooting from the sidelines I attracted attention as others on the ground started to cheer also. Suddenly, a round of applause and cheers sounded as she reached up to squeak the toy tied to the topmost handhold. She had made it to the top. Then like a professional rock climber she grabbed the rope in her hands and kicked off the wall propelling her way down. Standing in awe we watched...disbelieving yet watching mouth agape at the same time. Then I said, “I think she gets it from me.” My daughter rolled her eyes as I laughed.
As a parent you may cringe at the thought of your four year old scaling a three story building whose only attachment keeping them from free falling is a safety line. However, I asked Sunshine if she was scared when she looked down from her high perch and she said, “Nope!” So I told her it was good not to be afraid and that she was fearless; because children can learn fear just as easily as they learn the word “no” which they hear often when young.
Unfortunately, a small child may process constant denials to do something they have no learned fear of as not being good enough, or worthy enough for the task. As that child grows this learned behavior could make its presence known in other areas of their life. They may give up attempting new things, or put little effort into familiar things. Then as adults they become stuck in a protective pattern of behavior they fear letting go of because maybe...just maybe...they are unworthy, or not good enough so they never reach for the top.
Ask yourself how often you welcome life unafraid? Unafraid of trying new things, unafraid of starting over, unafraid of falling in love again, unafraid of change, unafraid of what others may think, unafraid of being on your own, unafraid of being true to yourself no matter what, unafraid of making new friends.
How often are you truly unafraid? Sometimes it’s hard to imagine reaching the top when you feel like you’re standing at the bottom. But up is the only way off the ground. And the awesomeness of life is...anytime is the right time to live like a child...fearless. It’s never too late to reach out a steady hand and grasp the yellow moon stronghold that will move you past whatever’s been holding you back. It’s time to begin your journey of freedom from fear. Live fearlessly my friends!
Can you imagine...reaching the top?
Smile, you can do it!