My father-in-law, David C. Evans, mentored hundreds of boys during his 27 year tenure as a scoutmaster. He trained and inspired his scouts to be prepared and accountable for their scouting adventures and for life.
One day, more than forty years ago, Dave took a group of scouts plus his 10 year old son Doug to climb Dinwoody Peak in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. In order to summit the peak they had to cross a glacier. Dave carefully prepared the boys, teaching them the intricacies of climbing, especially techniques to keep them safe. They learned how to belay or make an anchor by planting their pickaxe in the ice and wrapping the rope around it in a figure eight. They learned that this simple action protects both themselves and their climbing partner. Using a series of anchors the climbers provide security for each other as they take turns moving along the glacier. When one climber is ready to step out on the ice he lets his partner know by calling “On belay.” From that moment on he trusts his partner with his life. If the climber should slip or fall, all will be well as long as his partner has properly secured and maintains the anchor.
This day Dave was partnered with his son. Young Doug had just secured his anchor when Dave saw two teens, not from their group, roped together, but with no anchor, sliding uncontrollably towards the deep and deadly crevasse below. Knowing that Doug was prepared and could be counted on, Dave called out, “On belay,” and swung with all his might to catch the boys. The first one swooshed past him, but he caught the second, saving both their lives. Doug was also a hero as the three lives hung in his young hands, and he held the anchor.
We can help our children to be prepared to face their unique challenges when we teach them how to anchor their lives in values capable of providing a secure foundation. With this preparation, they will be better ready to leap out “on belay” as needed when moments of trial come along.
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