Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rockclimbing- How it Benefits Teens

Soon after moving to this area, my son Ryan began to figuratively climb the walls here at home and needed an outlet for his energy- a place where he could literally climb the walls. After an online search, I signed him up for a rock climbing club for teens at a local gym. Initially, Ryan was hesitant to climb to any height that took him more than 5' off the ground, but with encouragement and support from his teachers, he was soon scaling 40' walls.

The beauty of rock climbing is that it forces teens to conquer their fears, problem solve, and build physical strength, all while having fun. As they work their way up from the easier 5.5 routes to those of greater difficulty, they develop balance, coordination and mental focus. This results in a bringing together of the mind and body, allowing for the confidence teens need at a time in their life when things naturally feel out of whack.

As I have watched Ryan progress in his climbing skill over the last seven months, his fingers, arms, and core have strengthened, enabling him to tackle harder and harder routes. He now makes climbing look easy, but when I try and duplicate even the easiest of moves he makes on the wall, I have a much harder time doing it. In this instance, Ryan becomes the teacher, showing me how to move, encouraging me along a route. How wonderful and empowering for him to be in the role of guide after all his years of being instructed by adults.
There really is no end in sight in regard to where climbing will take Ryan. There will always be harder routes to figure out, or bigger mountains to climb. Much like the challenges of life.

1 comment:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Teens are a challenge for sure. From your great introspective post it seems you have a good handle on the teen challenge -- barbara p.s. good shots!