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Why I Forced My Kid to Rock Climb

By Megan Clark

For my son’s birthday, Harrison’s Mimi and Poppa gifted him with a much-anticipated rock wall climbing experience. We got him geared up, and as he stood at the base of an indoor rock wall, all of his previous gusto left him with one long wide-eyed study of the steep wall he was about to scale. Before he was two feet off the ground, he was ready to quit and go home. He wanted to get down, get out of the harness, and run for the hills. And I said, “No.”

In fact, I said, “You’re not climbing down; keep going. Go all the way to the top. You are not quitting.” And he did it. He scaled not one, not two, but three different walls, each higher and harder than the last. He wasn’t ecstatic about it and still kept mentioning his plans to quit, but I kept up my mantra, “I’m not letting you quit; you’ve got this!”

He left that gym with tired arms and shaky legs but with his head held high. As the weeks have passed, he loves looking at the pictures and now talks about his accomplishment very proudly. In fact, some of his retelling accounts have completely left out his desire to quit and focused on what he achieved.

In this day and age of child-led parenting, I’m sure I came off harsh and unloving as I forced my kid to cling to a rock wall against his will. But I knew what giving up would do in his head and heart long-term.

The world ahead is filled with rock walls to scale. My kids will daily be faced with challenges and a choice to quit. I’m not raising quitters. I’m raising men who finish what they start, who never give up when it gets tough, who have been through sweat and tears themselves so they can come alongside someone else in the throes of a hard climb.

When Satan launches his attacks, my kids will know giving up is never an option because they will have been trained with the truth of God’s Word and raised on a secure foundation of biblical principles. They will be able to stand firm because of their victory through Christ.

That afternoon at the rock wall gym gave me an excellent opportunity to lay a foundation for perseverance. Because I required Harrison to finish what he started and complete the goal, he can say he never quit. He can also say he’d much rather be tackling a wide receiver on the ten-yard line than scaling a rock wall.


Megan Clark is a homeschooling mom to four boys and a girl who keep her pediatric nursing skills sharp. She is married to Matthew Clark, an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice. Living in Washington D.C. has given their family daily opportunities to explore and learn. Between hiking, running, baking, making messes, photography, and blogging, Megan and Matthew keep Christ the head of their household as they grow alongside their children in becoming more like Jesus.


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