Yesterday I decided to take my kids on a long hike at Golden Gate State Park in the Rocky Mountains of my home state Colorado. Now Jeremy, my seven year old, has been on a bunch of hikes with me and is pretty used to toughing it out on a trail. He knows that if he wants to get a patch (you can earn patches on many of the hiking trails of Colorado that show that you completed the hike) he has to finish without complaining, without asking “Are we there yet?” and without any help from dad or mom.
Kailey, my tough and sweet little girl, is only three years old and has only done very simple hikes with us (around a lake, down the path) so yesterday was a stretch for her. I wasn’t anticipating this climb to be steep or tough. But it was very steep in long stretches, steeper than any trail Jeremy or I have ever taken. I was worried that I would have to carry her the whole way. But, much to my surprise, I didn’t.
As a matter of fact Kailey wanted to lead the way for much of the time on the hardest part of the two and a half hour hike. On the steepest part of the trail she even turned back at one point and literally said the words, “Come on guys. Follow me!” Along the way she kept saying, “I’m a good climber Daddy!” and I, through my labored breathing, would heave out the words, “Yes…you are…a good climber” and Jeremy would echo my refrain.
There were a few times that she wanted to be carried for a few minutes but that was mostly toward the end and then only for just a few minutes. She did great. Not bad for a three year old on a trail tagged “moderate” on the difficulty scale at 8,800 feet. One of my favorite moments of the hike is when I asked her, “Who made all this Kailey” and she yelled out “JESUS” loud and proud.
Debbie and I pray that, with God’s guidance, we will be able to harness her independent spirit and her mental toughness and focus it toward advancing the kingdom of God. In the words of my friend and fellow worker Neva who prayed the best prayer ever for our children, “I pray that Jeremy reaches the world for Christ and that Kailey stops anybody who tries to get in his way.”
You go girl!