We went to the local crag and the intent of the day was to let Jud’s son sample some more outdoor climbing (he’s only 9 years old, and mostly climbs indoors). I also wanted my son to get outside to watch and scramble up some of the step-like gullies so he could “rock climb” too. I also wanted my wife’s company and brought along her harness, shoes, and helmet hoping she might rope up.
Jud’s son climbed the 5-easy chimney route with ease and I coaxed my wife into giving it a try. She was a bit nervous; she used to climb quite a bit in the gym but not much outside, and it’s been a while. But she managed to send the route no problem and came down with a big smile on her face and later telling me “I’m back”, saying how she was looking forward to climbing again. After that we climbed one of my favorite routes, a 5.6/7 corner climb that really challenged but stoked Jud’s son since the variety in holds and body positions is something you really can’t replicate in the gym.
My son had a blast. All he wanted to do was climb and I was very impressed by how well he can do it at just under 3 years old. He’s very confident, sure-footed and careful (he gets a lot of practice climbing furniture). I can’t wait until he’s big enough for a child’s harness. While I’ll never push him into doing anything, I can see he genuinely enjoys the outdoors, climbing, and doing adventurous and physical activities.
I’ve been bummed out lately by how I see a lot of parents interact with their young children, especially when it comes to fathers and sons. I saw a pretty disappointing episode recently at a barber shop, while my son played with another boy his father (who was too occupied with his cellphone to see how well they were behaving) kept pulling him back in his chair and shushing him, then finally turning over the phone to the child with a video to halt his play and divert his attention. Why a dad would be annoyed by two boys just being boys – nobody else there seemed to mind either, all the other adults were watching them and smiling. And the other day, at a child’s birthday party, seeing parents shut down their kids with iPads or their cellphones instead of letting them be kids or, what they should be doing, giving them the proper attention they need. I’m not trying to rant, but while some people may think I’m crazy bringing my son climbing, I think people like me and Jud got it right when it comes to parenting versus those who’d rather let the TV, iPad, cellphone, or the internet be their children’s guide in life. Jud spent a great deal of time explaining safety and the reasons behind our actions to his son, as a father should. While my little guy is a bit too young for Climbing 101 or roping up, at the very least I’ll let him learn through playing, experience falling down-getting up, watch, and hopefully one day be inspired to try.
|The Little Guy who I'm trying to inspire, who inspires me.|