Learning Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Recently, a long time mentor and role model of mine asked “If kids are scared of butterflies, how will they become great business leaders in a board room?” This came from someone who I knew had deep concerns about children, their safety, their feelings, and their future. He was really talking about kids growing up to be prepared for future challenges who needed more opportunities and expectations so they aren’t afraid to take things on. Kids need experiences that help them step out of their comfort zone, while helping them to understand reasonable boundaries and keeping them reasonably safe. These experiences help with critical thinking skills and lead to success in the future.

The new Challenge Course at the Monett YMCA gives kids (as well as adults) more types of opportunities than you might think when first seeing it. As people walk into the Y, responses are almost immediate from “Look at that, it is so cool!” to “There is no way ...” With 13 obstacles and over 300 feet in length of challenges, many people find it a little intimidating the first time they try it. Different routes through the course require different abilities including balance, strength, and nerve. Everyone wears a harness that is always attached to a safety line which prevents anyone from falling more than a foot. The goal for participants isn’t to do everything the first time, but rather to do more than they’ve done before. Some challenges may not ever be right for some people or they may need to be completed in a unique way due to height, strength and balance. For kids, because you can choose your route, it requires problem solving and cooperation to get around others and go the route you would like to go.

A challenge course is just one way to help with developmental growth. Mental, physical, and spiritual challenges are something we all need to grow and improve. Are there positive ways you can challenge a child to: build, learn, explore, pray and think?

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