Our eldest daughter was just 18 months old when my husband Dave introduced her to rock climbing.
He fashioned a tiny harness for her and used the stairs in our living room as her climbing wall.
Little by little with a firm yet encouraging approach, Dave has helped both of our girls to progress from climbing the stairs in our living room and up and down the side of our house to scaling rocky terrain at a nearby climbing spot.
Looking at our girls, you wouldn’t expect them to be the outdoorsy type. One is tall and thin with delicate features and a penchant for princess dresses, while the other awkwardly waltzes around the house in heels and a tiara with a magic wand in hand.
When it comes to daddy and daughter time though, they scramble to ditch their dresses and heels for shorts and trainers, keen to trek off to their favourite Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
While they come home from their climbing adventures happy, dirty and full of tall tales, the outings are not always sunshine and lollipops.
Dave can sometimes have a battle on his hands with tears, resistance and fear. They are only five and three after all, so they do get scared and upset when they lose a footing and fall or scrape themselves. It’s only natural for them to feel that way.
I used to panic when Dave first took the girls to the cliffs, worrying that he was pushing them too far out of their comfort zones, but now I see how good it has been for them. I can see how this climbing tradition has become so much more than Dave sharing his love of climbing.
Through climbing, the girls have come to realise how strong and capable their bodies are. They’ve been able to face their fears, and with the guidance of their ever-patient dad, they’ve been able to work through those fears. They’ve learnt that when faced with a roadblock/challenge/rock hold that they can’t quite reach, they need to survey the situation and find another way to achieve their goal. They’ve learnt if they slip and fall, the rope is there to support them and all they need to do is to dust themselves off and try again.
Climbing has been particularly beneficial for our eldest who errs on the side of caution in everything she does. A little more sensitive and wary than her younger sister, climbing has helped Miss Five be more open to challenges and to step out of her comfort zone.
I’m grateful for the relationship Dave has with our daughters and the effort he puts into helping them to grow into strong and confident girls with a never give up attitude.
We can only hope that the lessons we’re teaching them now will help prepare them for their tween and teen years and beyond.
Do you ever push your kids out of their comfort zone? How do they react? Were you ever pushed out of your comfort zone as a kid and encouraged to face your fears?
Linking up today with Essentially Jess for IBOT.