A Lesson in Courage

“Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.”
-Baltasar Gracian

Family Vacation

Over the Memorial Day weekend my family and I went on a much needed vacation. We normally go to Sea World each summer, but since my wife is almost 8 months pregnant driving in a mini-van for 4 hours didn’t sit well with her.

So, we decided to stay closer to home this year and check out the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas.

We had an absolute blast. The water park is out of this world. There are plenty of things for kids to do and grown-ups need not fret – the Howlin’ Tornado water slide will take your breath away. Trust me on this.

During the weekend all of my kids, but especially my 3.5 year old daughter, taught me a valuable lesson.

Dynamite Comes in Small Packages

Crashed on the Ride Home! My youngest daughter (the picture is of her on the drive home) is small in stature. But what she lacks in size, she more than makes up for with courage. Allow me to explain.

At the water park there are some huge water slides. Some so big, grown-ups hesitate going down them. But not my little girl.

She set her eyes on one massive slide in particular and said, “Daddy, I want to go down that one.” I looked her in the eyes to see if she was serious. She was indeed.

So we grabbed a two person tube and started up the stairs. I kept checking with her as we walked up to make sure she was still good to go. She was.

A View from the Top

When we got to the top my heart was racing, partly from the number of steps we had to climb and partly because this bad boy is high – real high!

After a few more minutes it was our turn. First, I sat down and got situated. Then I sat her down in the front section of the tube so I could hold on to her. She is so little I had to cup my feet under her to keep her from falling through the opening!

After a small push from the life guard we were off!  I couldn’t see her face… but I could hear her laughing hysterically. In fact, she made similar sounds last summer when she learned to swim.

Be Not Afraid

Both of my girls (my oldest also faced down some fears of her own) taught me a very valuable lesson this weekend – be not afraid.

You see, too often we grown-ups allow fears of failure to paralyze us. We tend to over-analyze solutions before implementing them to see if they will actually work. We also tend to listen to naysayers who spew things like, “That’ll never work. Don’t waste your time.”

So, just like it took my little girls lots of courage to fly down the water slides this weekend, it takes the same kind of courage for us big people to venture into unchartered waters, even though failure is a real possibility.

Sure it will be scary. And sure we may not have someone holding us up as we head down the “water slide” of life. But one thing is for certain… the same exhilarating feeling my girls felt for those 30 seconds is waiting on us. But we need to take that first step into the unknown.  Are you ready?

Let’s Hear From You

I’m always interested to hear from others as to the inspiration they’ve received from the little people in their life (children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, etc.). If you have a story to share, please do.

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3 Comments

  1. Dennis Stenson

    May 28, 2008 - 6:57 am

    My kids are all grown and your post sure makes me miss the old days. Cherish them.

    The thing I think I have learned more than anything from watching my kids grow is to never lose your imagination.

    For some reason we adults seem to lose the ability to dream and set ambitious goals.

  2. Chris Akins

    May 28, 2008 - 5:15 pm

    Ron,

    What a fantastic story. I don’t have kids, yet. But my wife and I are starting to talk seriously about it. I’m sure these are the types of memories you’ll keep forever.

    I agree, we can learn a lot from children. My mother in law was telling a story about my wife’s niece. She is about 4 years old. Anyway, Mamaw was telling her how when she (Mamaw) won the lottery she could get her anything she wanted! So Mamaw asked what it was she would want Mamaw to buy her when she won the lottery, and Chloe very excitedly replied: “A bag of crisps…” (they are English). If we were all so easily pleased…

    Chris

  3. Ron Pereira

    May 28, 2008 - 8:34 pm

    @ Dennis – Yes, the things kids think of just amaze me. In some cases they are innovators in the truest sense.

    @ Chris – Great story. I can just hear their little British accent saying this. Very nice. Thanks for sharing it.