Hitting The Wall
Stone Mountain has a fantastic ropes course called “The Sky Hike.” It’s three stories tall, with the first level starting about twenty feet off the ground. It’s the sort of thing that gets your pulse racing just to look at, and then doesn’t dissapoint once you’re on it.
The only problem is the height requirement, which stopped my youngest from being able to give it a go.
Fortunately, they have a second course nearby. It’s much simpler, and only about three feet off the ground. The little guy loved it, but it was obvious that he wanted to do the big one. There’s a climbing wall at the end of the course, though, one that he wasn’t old enough to try when we were there two years ago.
He and I put on the harnesses and climbed up side by side. He’s only six, after all, and the climbing wall was very high. He went up the wall like Spiderman, but his arms weren’t quite long enough to reach the handholds sometimes. Whenever he got stuck, I leaned over and gave him a little boost.
He made it to the top, pressed the buzzer button and we went down together to the sound of clapping. The whole line kept applauding as the Stone Mountain employee helped the big guy out of his harness. He wasn’t smiling.
I nodded and smiled to the crowd, and joined them in clapping.
He still didn’t look happy. In fact, he looked downright upset. The applause tapered off as we walked away.
“You did it,” I said. “That was great!”
“You helped me,” he said.
“I didn’t do it. You helped me,” he accused.
“But,” I hesitated. “I had to. That climb is for much bigger kids.”
He didn’t answer.
“You did all the climbing,” I tried again. “You held on. You found the handholds and footholds. I only gave a hand when the stretch was too long.”
“You helped” he said again, and turned away.
I had nothing to say. That very morning he’d had quite a victory (click here for details), one where I had pointed out just how much better it was to accomplish things without help. Now he wasn’t interested in anything less, and I couldn’t blame him.
Nevertheless, I spent the rest of the day trying to convince him that making it to the top of the climbing wall was, actually impressive.