One journey that I recently took parallels a journey that I am embarking on today. Just two months ago my friend, Laura, and I tackled one of "the top 25 most dangerous hikes in the world." (Scroll to #23) We traveled to gorgeous Zion National Park, Utah, arrived early in the morning and started our climb to the peak of Angel's Landing.
The path curved into two sets of numerous 'switchback' S-curves that look amazing from the air but are quite grueling on the ground.
We reached Scout's Lookout with only 1/2 mile to go when we realized the real challenge was just beginning. Chains were erected on the side of the mountain to help hikers with the climb. At times, we had to wait for other hikers who were using the chains to go down so we could have enough room on our ascent. We kept going up and up and up and the last 1/2 mile took us over 45 minutes. It was both physically and mentally exhausting.
After much effort, we made it to the top and were greeted with a spectacular view! We also felt that undeniable feeling of SUCCESS.
However, the journey wasn't over, because we feared hiking DOWN may pose even more difficulty than hiking up!
Luckily, we made it to the bottom unscathed. Overall, it took us about five hours to complete the entire hike.
On our journey to Angel's Landing, there were times that we gripped onto the chains and didn't want to let go. There were times that we reached for strangers' hands for help and support. There were countless times that we gave encouragement to those we passed along the way. There were times that we just stopped to breathe and take in the beauty around us.
The reason I'm sharing a short account of this story today is because the beginning of the school year is undeniably the start to a new journey. There will be times throughout the year that you (and your students) will be scared, apprehensive, and nervous. There will be times that you will have to depend on others (your colleagues, your students, their parents, and even strangers) for support. There will be times when you aren't sure if this is the path you should have taken. However, be steadfast, have confidence and know that whatever path you are on, is EXACTLY where you should be. Take a moment to breathe and take in the beauty that is around you. Take the time to give encouragement to others and be ready to take advice when others give it too! Have a great school year!