If at first you don't succeed, Try, try, try again. -Thomas H. Palmer
What an amazing site it is to watch your child do something and not succeed the first time and then with encouragement and persistence overcome the fear.
I was recently privileged to watch such an event. It was Character Champ day at YMCA Camp Tippecanoe, and I went with both of my children. My children had ziplined before and were excited for their zip times, in fact that was the first thing we signed up for. My son excitedly climbed up the 35 foot rope ladder first and right behind him climbed his sister. As I stood on the ground watching, another mother had asked if that was my son, I said, “yes” and she said, “Well I think he is crying.” Sure enough that is when I heard the wails of my child who was clearly upset and frightened.
All of my children had zipped before, so this response caught me off guard. What I witnessed next was so encouraging. The Camp Counselor was so gentle, and compassionate with my child. She really just listened to him; she didn’t rush him and continued to encourage him. She was able to get him to launch and zip down; mind you he cried the entire ride down.
Once he landed, his sister met with him and cried right along with him, being the sympathetic crier that she is, she just desired him to experience the fun that she just did.
After many hugs, tears were wiped away, we called Dad. Their dad explained that it was ok to be scared and to just enjoy the rest of the day. We then ate lunch and just enjoyed the other kids and parents, laughing as the Camp Director lead us in a silly birthday song for a camper. Oh we laughed. As lunch was ending, my son asked to sign up for another zip time, so we did just that. We enjoyed the rest of the day with some horseback rides, archery, and a beautiful pontoon boat ride just in time to go zipping.
As my children were getting geared up, the counselors all remembered their names and they told my son they were so glad that he came back to try it again. My daughter climbed up first and waited for her brother to climb up. The counselor at the time also remembered him and was so excited to see him.
This time they were both ready to launch and they did so together. YEAH he was smiling and enjoying the ride, so much that they did it one more time and raced.
On the drive home my daughter said, “Well we sure did learn a lot of lessons today” I asked, “oh yea, and what would they be?” She said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” As a parent, it was very heartwarming to witness this from the counselors truly being compassionate and encouraging as well as having your child display courage and overcome a fear. Thank you Camp Tippecanoe for providing me the opportunity to have this memory!