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The Monkey Bar Mantra

Posted on: June 18th, 2012 by bubbyjoysandoys

Enjoyed this? Share it, and attribute it. Copyright 2014, Bubby Joys and Oys, M. Hendeles

This week, I switched the screen-saver on my phone.

The new picture is one of my grandson at the park pulling himself with his little hands across a horizontal ladder atop a swing set. You know the kind of playground equipment that the kid stretches upward and grips the first rung with one hand, while his little pre-school body dangles beneath the structure? Then, he edges his body forward, placing his other hand on the second rung, before leaving go of the first rung. He quickly transfers that fist from the first rung to go around  the third rung. This continues rung by rung (with all of us observing, holding our breaths) while his mouth contorts in concentration, his eyes squint in the sun, his face drips perspiration, his fists hold on for dear life, and his cheeks grow steadily redder.

We are half expecting him to fall the foot-length downward onto the safe sand. But knowing this child’s determination, we sense he’s going to make it to the end.

By the time his little left fist reaches Rung #5 and his right fist is loosening up to pull away from Rung #4,  my son, the Daddy snaps a photo with his Android phone camera. A success waiting to happen — frozen in time.

That photo with my grandson hanging precariously from the blue playground equipment – moving forward toward the finish line — graces the wallpaper screen saver of my phone. Each time I look at the picture with those little fists grasping firmly onto the blue shiny metal rungs, I get a rush of strength in my soul.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

I recall back in elementary school when some children would “skip grades” if they were deemed advanced or gifted. Nowadays, this is not considered accepted “best practices” anymore. Schools don’t skip children. Gifted children remain in the same grade as their same-aged peers and are given enrichment work.

I recall my tendency to want to rush things. For example, I want to jump ahead in my weight loss program. I want to eat really really little one day, so I can boost my metabolism and possibly lose more weight just this one week. My mind plays tricks on me, and lets me think that it’s really going to work if I skip some steps.

Alas, it doesn’t work. My body puts on more weight that week, as if to tell me, “you gotta do it one step at a time. Do it correctly. Eat the full allotted amount each day.”

Actually, any goal worth attaining – whether it is weight loss, reaching the end of a monkey bar set, or passing a class in school – is worth striving for slowly and steadily. We’ve got to move along our destined path, and achieve the grip on each rung, master that step, before moving on. Some of us may move faster than others; but each one of us passes through each milestone, one at a time.

One step or rung at a time. One day at a time. Sometimes I forget that, but it’s okay. The snapshot of my grandson – in my mind and on the photo – may be the reminder that I need to keep moving, feel the grips, hold on tight, push, sweat and work hard. Until the finish line.

It is always worth it.

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