The Cliff

Over this past weekend my oldest daughter and I went camping.

What fun! This was her first backpacking trip and we had such a blast. She’s such an amazing adventurer. We hiked for five hours, covering roughly nine miles total. She scaled cliffs and trees, bounded along rocks in a riverbed, collected samples of mud and bark and fungus. The phrase “Daddy, watch this!” was uttered about a bajillion times, and I watched every one.

During one of her climbs… she fell. Head over heels, tumbled right down to the bottom. As a matter of practical skill, the karate lessons have paid off in terms of self-awareness and resilience; she tucked and rolled, landed extremely well, and bounced right back up. But then more importantly – she attacked that cliff.

Not once or twice, but a dozen more times – up and down, sideways, different paths. She wanted to let that cliff know who was boss. It had taken a bite out of her and she was determined not to allow that to pass. She aggressively attacked her weakness and in its place she made herself strong.

Something that kids obviously take for granted is the ability to be single-minded. When you’re 7 (nearly 8!), there aren’t dozens of other responsibilities and worries and stresses and deadlines pulling at your brain, so when you decide I am conquering this cliff it can be the single focus of your entire existence. That lets you summon all of your powers to the task, and very little can stand against that.

The thing to remember as an adult is that even with all the deadlines and all the responsibilities – they don’t own you. It’s the other way around. When you’re at the base of the cliff, none of those things have a physical ounce of weight if you don’t let them. Leave them at the bottom, be free, and climb.

Show that cliff who’s boss.

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