Just in Case

"Mom? .... Mom?? Can someone get my mom for me?"

This past weekend, I'd seen a boy climb half-way up a structure before his fear of heights struck. What made matters worse: younger kids were climbing around him with confidence and ease.

Seeing his panic, I asked him where his mom was and asked if he needed help.

He looked around, hesitated, and replied: "I'm kind of scared." But then, just as he finished saying this, he inched his way upward some more. I wasn't expecting that - and chuckled. "Looks like you're able to keep going though!"

I checked in on my own kids - and when I glanced back, I'd seen the boy had climbed even higher. "Well, look at you - you're doing awesome! You're pretty much at the top!" I called out. 

Watching him climb over the top edge, I gave him a thumbs up and said "Great job!" and went back to my kids.

Moments later I heard his voice call down to me: "Thank you so much for helping me!" I laughed because I'd done nothing at all - which is exactly what I told him. "No thanks needed, you did it by yourself..."

I've been thinking about this a lot over the past few days. This story could easily read as a put-me-on-a-pedestal, pat-myself-on-the-back, look-how-great-I-am-for-helping kind of story. But this isn't about helping. It's actually about *not* helping.

The boy didn't need help. He didn't need someone to tell him where to put his feet, where to shift his weight. As far as being a coach or a cheerleader, I was a terrible one because my attention was mostly on my own kids. I was only there just in case.

And I think that's what he needed. A "just in case." It's so very easy, whenever we face a challenge, to feel alone. And that feeling of loneliness can become a debilitating fear.

It's not always a lack of skill, talent, ability, experience, education, intelligence that's keeping us from climbing upwards.

Sometimes it's just needing to not feel alone. Just in case.


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