This past Saturday, the newest Circle de Luz class– just 10 days into the program- were scheduled for a day at a local challenge course. The challenge course comes with a scary release form– making you promise not to sue them if you die and all. The outdoors program that runs the challenge course hosts a lot of different opportunities like rock climbing and kayaking and, well, things that are kinda rigourous and may lead to a bump or seven. The release form that the girls and their families had to sign covered everything from the very low-impact team building exercises we were doing and the scary daring stuff. When I gave each family their release form last week, I explained as I best could in Spanish (come on, I am fairly conversational in Spanish, but I don’t really have conversations about safety all that often so I’m not sure how clear I really was) that this form seemed really scary but the stuff that the Circle de Luz girls would be doing really wasn’t scary.
Fast forward to this Saturday, about an hour before the girls were going to be picked up for the trip, my phone rang.
“Hello,” I answered.
“Hello, Rosie, this is Angela. Is it important that we go today?” A soft voice asked.
“Why, what’s up, honey?” I asked, wanting to get a better idea of what was going on– maybe she was sick or something was wrong with her family or if she was nervous about the other girls or what.
“I just don’t want to do it.”
“Why don’t you want to do it? Are you nervous about it?” The liability form flashed into my mind.
“Are you nervous about not knowing the other girls or are you nervous about what you will be doing?”
“Would it be helpful if I told you the types of things we did last month when we took the 2014 girls. You may not do the exact same things, but it will give you an idea of what you can expect.”
And so I explained every single thing we did when we were there the month before and told her exactly how high off the ground each thing was.
“Does any of that sound scary to you?”
“No,” she answered.
“Do you feel better about going and doing it today?”
Then I told her how proud I was of her for being brave enough to call me and tell me what she was feeling and how proud I was of her for working through her fear to get to the other side.
Later, I was thinking about the phone call, about how I would have just said, “I’m sick” and wormed my way out of it if I were 12 and didn’t want to do something. Heck, I probably would have done that at 35. I love that Angela didn’t have the filter and air that we sometimes gain with age. I love that she was just a girl who faced her fear and wasn’t ashamed to talk about it and was even willing to have her mind changed. Talking to Angela on Saturday reminded me of a truth that I learned during teaching– that it is the young and unjaded, the pure and the honest, the fresh and the vibrant who teach us the most remarkable life lessons. Maybe on Saturday I helped Angela to feel better about what was in front of her, but the truth is that Angela reminded me that articulating our fears is just about the finest form of bravery.