...belay that!

Are you always pondering how to parent better?   

Me too, but focusing on that instead of the perils of parenting is a bad idea when you are midway up the middle of a steep climb.  

My momma mantra is, "I do what I do, 'cause the kids need me to." My husband's daddy didactic is, "Watch and learn," which is why we climb.  

The parenting Ah-HA moment that smacked me right upside the head, was in the form of a 10.2 static rope attached to a 110 lb., thirteen year old.  That’s what I deserve for allowing my mind to wander while I am belaying, but the parenting Ah-Ha that resulted was teen-altering! 

BELAY:  Sailor slang to stop or cease.  To play out or cinch up the climber's line.  

Belay techniques vary as do parenting techniques, but both involve securing the subject to something stable, and then cinching up the slack.  This provides stability as the subject advances.

One method attaches the belayer into the middle of the rig.   This technique is more difficult and exhausting for the belayer because it required constant vigilance, and extraordinary muscle power and if/when the climber slips, both the climber and the belayer get jerked around.  This also requires calculations and estimations of height/weight ratios and personally I find that adding MATH to anything complicates everything.   

I do NOT, neither as the belayer nor as a parent, wish to become a tethered monitor between my climber and his challenge. 

My job as a parent is to direct the belay—to provide encouragement and be a minimal stop gap measure should my youth slip.   I do not prevent the slip nor should I. 

If my parenting design is right, I'm linked outside of the whole set up.  As the adventurer proceeds confidently with a solid anchor, when he/she slips, they can recover their footing and find stronger handholds to continue to climb upward.   

I don’t know about you, but at some point in the future, I want my children to gain the confidence to climb off lead. (Not so sure about it in the literal sense, but certainly figuratively.)  

If my youth has made his own small missteps and learned from those slips to seek more stable grips, then when he goes off on his own to ascend his own pinnacles, he will progress much more secure and confident in his own abilities. 

So I get out of the way and give plenty of lead so that these youth can control their own ascent.  My goal?   I am raising a lead climber!   
 Reality Bite:  It's not only a great family activity but with my careful mommy machinations, the plan for a family canyoneering vacation can happen in Maui which will also involve some beneficial beach time for the Mom!

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