Overcoming Obstacles – 2020 Edition

Yes, I did write about this in 2019.

Yes, it did involve an actual obstacle course (for kids).

Yes, it was fun to watch the gkids run around and try to beat each other’s time.

Yes, I am done writing these “Yes” statements.

On a whim, I decided to set up another obstacle course for the gkids. It involved a few days of preparation, a half-day to set it up, and a day or two to put it all away (a bit of tired procrastination here). But the day was a lot of fun for both spectators and participants. So, here it was in a nutshell (see a very rough sketch and collages for info).

(c) 2020 P. Nehnevajsa

Bike course (warm-up activity):

    • 5-mile bike ride around the Village Point Lake in Clemmons NC.
    • This also included rock-throwing and minnow catching…with Isaiah catching the minnows with his hands.

Dry yard course:

    • 3 angled steps
    • 3 part balance beam
    • PVC pipe hurdles
    • Tunnel crawl
    • Ropes course
    • Pool noodle run (under arches and run around standing pool noodles)
    • Horseshoes and ring toss
    • Yard maze
    • Yard dart game

Dry driveway course:

    • Draw faces: smiling, sad, goofy and alien
    • Dancing & Yelling section
    • Bubble noise maker run
    • Blow bubbles run
    • RC Car Circle race
    • Snap and Pop toss (never happened)
    • Tree climb (never happened)

Wet course (cooldown, part 1):

    • Water balloons
    • Squirt guns
    • Yard sprinkler
    • Yard mini pool
    • Slip and slide

Couch course (cooldown, part 2):

    • iPad Game apps
(c) 2020 P. Nehnevajsa

I’m tired just thinking about it (planning, set-up, and take-down) but the gkids were exhausted after running through everything.

So, why call this “Overcoming Obstacles”? For several reasons:

    • My expectations on which activities would provide the greatest joy/challenge were askew.
    • The time to set-up the maze was more than the enjoyment factor (needed to build walls so they could not see the maze paths).
    • My expectations for one activity flowing into the next were short-circuited by the ropes course, which was one of the favorites, and most challenging, of the day.
    • My expectation on the gkids enjoying every part.
    • My expectation ….

Well, you might have guessed the recurring theme. “My expectations” were torn asunder. I learned, once again, that this was really a day of exploration…for the gkids and me. For the gkids…what activities were available and what can they enjoy together. For me…what activities would receive a 5-star rating and which ones would receive the fatal do-not-do-again rating.

The obstacle of meeting personal expectations is a daunting challenge. They become micro-managing taskmasters. They are often fraught with disappointment and disillusionment because the expectations are either generally too high, too confining, too rule-bound, or too, you guessed it, expectant.

It was about the time the gkids went through the ropes course the 4th time that I realized they needed to do their own thing and not my perception of what “should be.” I had to let go of my expectations…and found that I enjoyed the time watching them explore and play, and cherished the time setting it all up (with the help of my gorgeous wife) so they could have a fun-filled, mind-body-spirit time with each other.

How many other things in life do I hold expectations for…expectations on the outcome, feelings, events, behaviors, attitudes? And how refreshing would it be to let those expectations go and just savor and explore the moment?

So, here’s to holding on loosely and being cognizant of built-up, hard to meet expectations.

And letting them go…to enjoy and be grateful for the moments.