Last week, I was looking at a picture of my climb up the Maroon Bells in Colorado. It was an incredible hike and one of my most favorite. Maroon Bells is 14,163 feet and is considered to be one of the sixth deadliest 14,000+ ft mountains to climb in Colorado. There is a large lake facing the mountain, and it is a spectacular view when the lake is smooth. The entire mountain is reflected in the pool, and it is breath-taking. The hike took a little over 16 hours from start to finish, but it was an amazing climb. As I looked back on that hike, there were a number of important lessons about the climb which can be translated to life.
First, I picked up a small pebble in my boot at the very beginning of the hike. It was 4:00 a.m. when I started. It was cold and dark at that point and did not want to take the time to clear my boot. Instead, I constantly attempted to maneuver the pebble toward the side of my boot where it would not hurt so much. After daybreak, I unlaced my boots and removed the rock. It made the rest of the hike so much more enjoyable because I was not distracted by the pain. The entire process took less than 1 minute to solve the problem completely. In life, we often carry many problems in our life. In several of these situations, we could easily unload our problems with just a little focus and energy. We should all evaluate our lives, determine what rocks are in our boots, and take the time to address those issues. The journey through life could end up being easier and more pleasant if we got things out of our boots.
Second, I remembered that my head/eyes were directed toward the ground for the majority of the trip. I was alone on this particular hike and wanted to make sure that I focused on the path to avoid injury. It was a long way from help, and there was no cell reception. On the return leg of the trip, I noticed many different sights that I had missed on the way up the mountain. It would have been a shame to have missed those moments. In life, I am often so focused on the journey, and working with my head down, that I fail to enjoy life as much as I should. All of us could probably benefit from being more present in the moment. Sometimes I wonder how much I have missed because I was not looking for the good and beauty in this world.
Third, I was steadily making progress up the mountain and felt good about my pace. My spirit was crushed a little when I reached a summit which I thought was close to the top of the mountain. This summit proved to be a false summit. Although I had been hiking for over 10 hours at that point, the real summit was still at least 2 miles away but was hidden by the slightly lower mountain. It was disappointing and difficult to harness the reserve to continue the hike because I thought I was so close to the top. Life often provides a number of false summits. False summits are simply part of hiking, and this is probably also true in life. We must be prepared for these setbacks but keep moving forward when we encounter them.
Fourth, I realized that my pack was extremely light on this trip. I took 2 liters of waters, a rain jacket, an extra pair of socks, a headlamp, a small first-aid kit, and a little bit of food on this trip. It was all that I needed. When I first started hiking several years ago, my pack was full and heavy to carry. It was difficult to thoroughly enjoy those early hikes because the weight in my pack was such a burden. A veteran hunter out west once told me that all you needed in your pack was water and toilet paper! I learned from those experiences, and hiking became better when I took all the unnecessary items out of my pack. I am concerned we attempt to carry too much in life, and it creates a number of challenges for us. Life could be much more enjoyable if we took the unnecessary weight out of our life packs.
Fifth, after nearly 10 hours of hiking/climbing, I stood alone on that mountain on my birthday. There were only about 55 places in the rest of the contiguous United States that were higher, and you could see forever. It looked as if you were on the top of the world from that vantage point. No one else was around because it was such a difficult and challenging mountain. That extra struggle to get there made it that much more enjoyable. Thomas Paine once said, “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.” Often life will provide that low-hanging fruit which is very attractive. Many are satisfied with the easy tasks and will seldom experience the extreme sense of accomplishment which comes from doing something few others could do. Sometimes, we do not take on those extremely challenging endeavors because of the high rate of failure or degree of difficulty. However, most of us are rejuvenated when we accomplish something significant, and we know how much we had to work to achieve that goal.
Please review the following information and contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Also, please remember to email Mrs. Webb (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have other questions you would like us to address in future articles.
1. Our COVID numbers are slowly rising a little after Thanksgiving break. Toward the end of this week, we had 27 total active cases in the district. This involved 21 students and 6 staff members. We have also heard of a new variant of the virus. We certainly should not allow the virus to paralyze us, but we need to be conscientious of our actions so that we do not experience the same type of restrictions we have had in the past.
2. This Monday, December 6, is the beginning of our “Celebrate Education” program. We are asking civic groups and individuals to do a little something special for your school or your classroom teacher to demonstrate appreciation. This does not have to be anything major but just a little something to let our staff know we appreciate them.
3. The last day of the first semester will be December 17. This will be an early dismissal day at 11:15AM. Students will return to school on January 4.
4. Currently, students are enrolled in a number of assessments. High school students are involved in state End-of-Course testing which is extremely important. In addition, students in grade 2 and above are involved in benchmark assessments. All of this testing is very important to both the student and the school. Please encourage your child to do their best. Please make sure your child is at school on time and ready to go.
5. The district spelling bee will be held on January 11, 2022, at Meadowview Middle School. This spelling bee event will include the school spelling bee winners.
Life can be an incredible journey full of amazing experiences and highly memorable moments. However, many unimportant/small things can distract us, and we can miss so many moments because we are focused on getting where we are going instead of enjoying the journey. In addition, disappointments can discourage us from continuing the journey, and life’s problems can weigh us down. The difficult mountains may be daunting to us, but we need to resist the urge to always seek the smallest mountains to climb. Kennedy once said, “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Growth occurs only when we take on those challenging and difficult goals. It is always a good time to reevaluate and recalibrate our life. We need to make sure we are headed toward the right summit and that we take the time to enjoy the journey. Thanks for your attention to this article and remember, School Matters!