We recently took the boys to a gymnastics open house, filled with excited kids trying out all the equipment. In one area, the kids waited in line to stand on a platform. Next to the platform, two rings hung from the ceiling, side by side, and below all that was a pit full of foam blocks.
If a child stretched out their arm, they could usually reach the ring closest to the platform. But to reach the second ring, hanging on the far side of the first ring, they had to hold onto the first ring and almost leap from the platform.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe this video will condense my post:
As I watched child after child take their turn, it was clear that this was do-able. However, some stood on the platform, looked at at the ring nearest them, then the pit below them, and the ring again. Many decided not to reach for the rings but to jump directly into the foam pit.
Most would stand on the platform and reach their hand to that first ring. There, with their feet on the platform and one hand on the ring, they would consider the second ring. Often, they would pause for a long time in this position. Some would try to reach the second ring, still keeping their feet firmly on the platform, and others would decide not to go for it.
As I watched, I wanted to scream excitedly, “Leap off the platform! Then you can reach the ring!” But of course, I remained silent as eventually, many put both hands on that one ring, lifted their feet off the platform to hang from that ring, and then dropped into the foam pit below.
Most exciting was watching others reach for the first ring and hold onto it while they LEAPT off the platform, flying toward the second ring. After leaving their solid ground, suddenly, the other ring was within their grasp, and, ironically, with both rings in hand, they could even choose to return to the platform.
Watching the whole process felt much easier, I’m sure, than it felt to the kids standing on the platform. I wish I could say that I lived life in that leaping group. I am more the “grab onto the rings without leaving solid ground” person, and then have to leave the solid ground anyway! At least, I could totally relate to that group.
But, just like I silently cheered them on, thinking, “You can do it!” I feel like you are doing that for me, encouraging me not just to reach for that elusive ring, but to leap toward it, and then, after solidly grabbing it, do whatever fun thing comes afterwards. It is huge. Thank you.