In my relationship with my teen it’s often very clear to me that I’m the one learning, not leading.

This week, my son and I went for a walk in the park with our dog after having a goal-setting meeting with his teachers.  It was agreed in our meeting that the academic goals my son is setting for himself this year are ambitious.  The adults in room were expressing cautious optimism as to whether or not he’ll achieve them, but they’re his goals.  We’re here to support him.

The dog park I regularly walk in has an aging exercise circuit.  As we passed each station, my energetic teen ran the hurdles, and deep knee lunged under the hoops designed for that purpose.   Then we walked past a climbing wall.  Not one of the funky new ones you see at recently installed kid parks – this one was a wooden wall with a cable on either side.  Looked to me like the district’s insurance companies had somehow missed assessing it when they updated the Park and Rec. policy.  One of those ‘accidents-waiting-to-happen’ kind of pieces of equipment.

Well, my boy became determined he was going to get up and over that bloody thing.  He tried one side, he tried the other side.  He slid down the cable, and yelped with pain as his hands began to flush with the abrasion of repeated attempts.  He managed to swing one leg over the top, and dangled precariously from the top, head towards the ground, while I held my breath, checking to make sure my cell phone was handy for an emergency call.

Eventually I tried to discourage him.  I mean, he’d tried about a dozen times, he was tiring, his hands were hurting and I was becoming impatient to carry on with our walk.   So was our dog.

He almost snarled at me, “I’m going over this thing”.

And on his next attempt – he scaled it.

He sat, catching his breath, at the top of this thing, and looked down at me.

“Mom, sometimes life is like a wall’.

Like I said, sometimes I’m the one learning.