Sunday, October 26, 2008
Last week I went on a three day field trip with my 5th grade twins to a conference center in the Colorado mountains. One of the highlights of the trip was the zip line. Some kids didn't hesitate to climb the tree to the platform, jump off the edge and travel hundreds of feet on a zip line down the mountain. Some cried a little, others bit back their tears. Almost all the kids conquered their fears and made the jump. Their teacher had told them what to expect and emphasized how strong the ropes and harnesses were. As the kids climbed the tree and made that jump the other children and parents cheered. I kept thinking how rare that kind of encouragement is. These kids were taking a literal jump out of their comfort zones. No one was telling them to be careful, to consider the consequences, to consider the odds of success, to play it safe. Instead their names were chanted, and they were told "one step at a time", "keep going", and "you can do it".
And yes, that's one of my sons in the picture. And I cheered for my boys even though I was nervous and worried. They looked so tiny when they were at the top of that tree. It would have been safer for them to stay on the ground, but not nearly as thrilling.
Encouragement shouldn't be rare. Let's spread some around. Encourage somebody today - maybe not to jump out of a tree - but to take their own creative leap, to do something new even if it's scary.
Lauri Griffin is a published short story writer who is currently revising some longer works. She holds degrees in educational psychology and gifted education, and is the instructional coordinator for a a literacy program. Lauri is fascinated by the many different ways our brains learn, and by the creative process. Visit Lauri's Reflections, for more thoughts on creativity, writing, lifelong learning, and parenting.