Sometimes as adults we forget what the innocence of a child feels like, and as adults we often let our so called experiences dictate our actions. Why is that? Are Children just fearless, and most adults are frozen from action due to fear? And yet a bigger question is what happened along the way for us to (as adults) to become so fearful?
As we were enjoying our family vacation, there were so many things that we did, that were considered to be firsts for the kids. But the one that really struck me was the first time my children rode a roller coaster. When we asked them if this was something that they wanted to try, they were both eagerly excited about the adventure. The roller coaster that they chose for their first ride was the “Manhattan Express”, the coaster that encompasses the New York New York Casino in Las Vegas. We stood across the street and watched it go up, then down around, and upside down. Despite visual nerves, when asked if they were sure the immediate answer was yes! Off we set, through the casino floor, we arrived at the entrance point to the coaster…there is a height requirement. Neither of the kids are tall enough to ride. The look of disappointment was heart breaking. As a result it became a family mission to find and ride a roller coaster before the end of our trip.
As we searched for a roller coaster you could see the fear grow in 1 child while the excitement grew in the other. As time pasted, my son became more and more Leary of the idea of riding a roller coster, and needed reassurance of their safety. Other the other side of the room was my daughter, who was becoming more and more annoyed at the fact that we had not found one for her to ride yet. She needed reassurance that it was a priority, and before we flew home she would ride a roller coaster.
We had a plan. We were going to spend a few days in San Diego to visit the zoo, and Legoland. No roller casters at the zoo, but Legoland had a few. Great. Off we went. The Zoo was amazing, beautiful and majestic, in both the animals, and atmosphere. But the excitement was growing for the following day that became known as “coaster day”.
In the morning, as we were planning out the day, we realized that Legoland had just switched to their winter hours, and the park was closed. The look of disappointment was overwhelming from both kids. The “ride a coaster” had taken on a purpose, so once again we hit the Internet to find a place to send the day, and of course ride a roller coaster. After all we were in San Diego the options are limitless. In the end and after much debate, we all settled on Sea World. It had 2 different coasters, and dolphins, who could ask for any more right.
We get to Sea World, Park, and enter the park. We wonder around a little, see the sharks, turtles, sea lions, and then it starts…”you promised”, “when are we going on a roller coster”. These statements repeated, until finally we find the gate to the main roller coaster…CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE. What are the odds. But there is a second coaster, so off we go in search of the last chance roller coaster. We find it, and wouldn’t ya know it, it is water one!! Normally I’m pretty into the rush of riding roller coasters, the only ones I do not enjoy are the WET ones. Awesome!!
A promise is a promise. My Daughter is running at full speeds to the entrance, my son you can tell is forcing himself to move in a forward motion. He is visibly nervous, and trying to talk himself into it. But he is not willing NOT to go. Although visibly nerves are getting the better of him, determination and curiosity is winning.
See their excitement, I have no choice but to suck it up, and ride the coster with them. My daughter wants to sit up front. (Knowing what I Know, there is no Way I am sitting up there-we’ll let that be Daddy job). My son chooses to sit at the very back (yep! That one has me all over it-I’ll go with him). We all assume our spots. We climb, wet get wet, we drop, we climb again, we get a little more wet, and drop a final time. As we are floating to the exit of the ride, my son turns to me and says “it wasn’t that bad, except for getting wet and the dropping parts. I didn’t like that”. I could help but laugh. I pear forward, to see my daughter giggling uncontrollably, and chattering daddy’s ear off. As the the ride comes to a stop, my son and I jump off, wet, cold and more annoyed then anything, my daughter looks around, sees there is no one else in line, and asks to go again. And so off they went to ride the coaster again. I am sure that if it was warmer out, she would have risen the coaster a dozen more times. Next time we will find a non water coaster, and we can ride it until time runs out.
Looking back on this day, it made me think of firsts. What is so exciting about them, what is so scary about them, and why as we get older do we stop looking for firsts to try? Why is it that as we grow older Fear always seems to gain the advantage, why do we allow it to stop is from having more firsts. Firsts are often the beginning of a new journey or a new path for which we can follow. Why is secure, predictable, and boring always seem to take precedence over new, exciting, and unknown?
Take the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your aid. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is startled, all that is within and without you will come to your assistance.
Robert Collier quotes (American motivational author, 1885-1950)