Eagle Bluff Observation #2

As promised, back in Our Eagle Bluff Adventure - I wanted to note a couple of observations I made over the weekend.

Before you get started, I want you to know that I have written this post over and over, and for some reason cannot get it to convey the message the way I want it to. This is the closest I have come.

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Like their father that came before them, my boys are not part of the "popular" crowd. My boys would more likely be categorized in the "geeks & freaks" group. I am ok with this, because (like I said) I too was a "geek and / or freak". The label has negative connotations to it, but in reality, they are just words. As an adult, I wear that label as a badge of honor! Being a bit geeky and a little freaky has gotten me to where I am today. I am happy and healthy. I have a strong faith. I am married to a beautiful woman (both inside and out) who loves me for who I am. I have a loving family, wonderful children, and a successful career. What more could a geek ask for??

Having grown up a "Geeky-Freak", it goes without saying that I was subject to a tad bit of ridicule from the "popular" kids. (Some of the names that were used in "ridicule" later became nicknames that actually ENJOYED having (behind their backs), and I still use to this day!) Name calling and teasing were part of my life. With my boys being in sixth and fifth grades, it is inevitable... and, so now I hear stories about the teasing my boys get from the "popular" kids from time to time.

Case in point. There is one particular "popular" boy that is very athletic. He is very active, and involved in all sports. He is also very talented in that area. This young man is "larger than life", talks a big talk, and is known for putting other kids down when they don't make the "perfect" play, or score for the team as often as he does. He is very critical of others who do not meet his "expectations".

This fella is not a bad kid; he just does not yet understand how his actions come across, and how others perceive him. He is the "top dog" in the school, and considered by many as the "most popular" in the class. Many of the boys strive to be just like him, others strive to avoid him. He is not what I would call a "bully" - just quick to notice (and point out) other's "shortcomings", while not acknowledging his own.

While at Eagle Bluff, this young man was boasting how he could not wait to get to the Tree Tops Ropes Course. Once we arrived and checked out the course from the ground, this young man was boastfully talking about going backwards across the course, faster and better than anyone else.

When the time came for his turn, he quickly donned the required safety gear and made his way to the entrance. He climbed to the first tier, and then slowed as made his way up to the second tier. By this time, he was 30-35 feet off the ground - and was TERRIFIED! No amount of coaching, encouraging and supportive talk could get him to go any further. He sat on the 2nd of the 7 tiers crying while the rest of the class passed him. When all the other kids had all gone by, he finally gave up and made his way back down the course (in front of his whole class).

I bring this up, NOT to point out this young fella's shortcoming, or to rub salt in an otherwise embarrassing wound... (Because, not only did he not go across the course, but I did not get on the course, and #3 of 5 only made it to the first tier before having to sit while the remainder of the class passed him by and have to work his way back to the entrance.) All totaled, there were five of us that did not make it.

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk to my boys, but felt that while we were still at Eagle Bluff, it was not the ideal time.

I later (after we got home) sat my boys down and talked to them about how even the "most popular" guy in class, the guy who "seems" to be able to do anything and get everything - is as human as the rest of us. And how they should NEVER let someone make them feel less important, or less worthy because of something they can or can not do (or do "perfectly").

I went on and further talked to them about how (as good as it might feel to turn this young man's failure back at him) they do not like to be teased by this boy, and why it was just as important to NOT to tease him.

We talked about the "Golden Rule" - "Do onto others as you would want others to do onto you". I live my life by that rule, and I think the world would be a better place if EVERYONE (of every race, creed, color, ethnicity, sexual preference, or "fear of heights") would strive to live their lives by this rule.

They were reminded that "Rising Above" will help make them fair minded, and stronger individuals when they become adults. I was proud to see that my boys had not teased this young man, and grateful for the opportunity for yet another "life lesson teaching" moment with my boys!


  1. I wish a lot more people lived by "the golden rule". That would solve so many problems...

  2. This is a really good post, and a good lesson for them all. I have tried to hammer that into my older son's head and for all the moments where I think I might need to just sell him on Ebay, he shows signs of actual maturity and compassion.

    Enough that I only THINK about listing him on Ebay. ;)

    I joke, I joke, but that really is a good post.


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