Dee called last night. She stayed one extra week in Ghost Ranch with friends of ours we met there a year ago. While I was in Ghost Ranch last week, Dee did the high ropes course. The course finale is to climb a 50-foot telephone pole, stand on it and make what is called “the leap of faith” to catch a bar that’s hanging about eight feet from the telephone pole.
Last week Dee climbed the pole, got to the top, then looked down. I could see the color drain from her face when she realized how high she was. She’d already walked across a high wire and scaled a wall and walked across a rickety ladder. But nothing had been as high as she was then, and she knew that. It took all the courage she could muster to pull herself to the top of the 50-foot telephone pole, sit on it, and then gently slide off to swing on the cable that was attached to her. I could tell she was really disappointed that she hadn’t been able to stand up. She kept saying, I shouldn’t have looked down, I shouldn’t have looked down.
When I left Ghost Ranch, Dee told me she was going to do the high ropes course again, and this time she was going to write on the goals form they fill out at the beginning that her personal goal would be to touch the bar hanging in front of the telephone pole. She figured she couldn’t grab it; she was still too small for that. But she knew she could touch it if she could just manage to stand up on the telephone pole and take the leap.
Well, I could hear in her voice the moment I answered the phone last night that she had big news for me. She did it. She climbed the pole, stood up, took the leap, and touched the bar with her fingers. She achieved her personal goal.
That’s a huge lesson for an 11-year-old to learn. To gaze with such intensity into her own mental and physical ability. To trust herself. To succeed. I’m so proud of her.