Flutterby™! : Are kids that different?

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Are kids that different?

2004-06-21 12:13:29.965236+00 by meuon 8 comments

Kids sure seem to be different. When I was a kid, doing the things I helped kids do last week at a ropes course would have caused major drama. Over two days, I helped over 100 kids climb a 20' telephone pole, stand on it on both feet, and jump into mid-air to try to catch a trapeze bar 10 feet away. We only had one kid freak from the heights, everyone else was eager to try, and although most expressed a little 'oh my gosh it's high' fear at the top, they jumped and many actually grabbed the bar. They also did ziplines, wire-walking and other high activities. Shows like 'Fear Factor' and 'XTC' seem to have changed their perspective, or maybe it is other factors in their environment, but whatever it is, it was suprising to me. This were not the 'adventure crowd' either, it was almost everyone entering Ooltewah High School, a wide cross section. So my question is, am I the oddball (and I only started doing such things a few years ago), or were you and your friends in 9th/10th grade capable of such feats without unreasonable fear?

[ related topics: Nostalgia Children and growing up Photography Nature and environment Television ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-21 12:51:38.975106+00 by: John Anderson

Is it possible that they're just more suspectible to peer pressure? Since nobody starting freaking out, it wasn't "cool" to freak out, even if they were all internally freaking out?

I can easily see my early high school peer group having dynamics like that.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-21 14:05:22.432573+00 by: Shawn

many actually grabbed the bar

What happened to those who didn't????

I don't really have any frame of reference for answering your question. I wasn't aware of anybody having the opportunity to try anything even remotely like this.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-21 14:56:39.106144+00 by: meuon


Actually, we had them in a full body harness, anchored above, using 11mm rope and a handful of belayers, and a Grigri (belay device). They simply hung in mid-air and we lowered them. The belay was set into two trees, so they were caught with a nice soft tug.

And maybe that is the difference, no opportunity for such things that I remember when I was a kid.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-21 15:08:31.544331+00 by: Larry Burton

The JrROTC department at my high school was doing things like this back in the early 70s. I remember having to climb a rope in Jr. High in gym class. The rope dangled from the rafters of the basketball court and we were required to climb to the top. I don't remember anyone freaking from the height, just from the exertion.

But I also remember cliff diving when I was sixteen with a bunch of my friends at an old rock quarry that had flooded and jumping off bridges into the lake without much fear of the heights.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-21 16:41:42.668706+00 by: Dan Lyke

I don't know about ropes courses, as I did my first real heights-on-ropes stuff at 19 or so, but I was diving out of trees on home-cobbled zip lines by 9 or 10 (the joys of growing up out in the country where pulleys and ropes were easily acquired...). I had height issues (testicles retracted to somewhere roughly in my upper abdomen) until long after I got good at rock climbing (part of why I took that up was to deal with my heights issues), but in the 15 to 20 foot range I had no problems as a kid.

The ropes courses I've done have been with lobster-claws (two lines from the harness with a locking 'biner on both, when you transfer from one safety cable to another you do it one 'biner at a time so you're always clipped in, but there's nobody else belaying you, so climbs rather than traverses can be a bit tedious), and it's amazing how much psychological crutch there is with a hand on that rope.

I'd go with those who say that peer pressure is just working differently these days. It's cool to do ropes courses, and that probably wasn't the case when you and I were kids.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-21 17:11:49.446364+00 by: polly

my high school "gang" climbed the rocks & cliffs of signal mountain and lookout mountain. there were some "cavers", but i didn't go there. we had no fear of hanging on the edge until one of the boys fell off the cliff at the top of falling water falls. he survived the fall, but took a long time to walk again. that was when, we became "aware" of what we were doing. up until that, it was "tally ho, look out below", lol.

back then it was all about rock climbing, wasn't aware of ropes...i think that was something those californians did, lol.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-21 17:27:21.65657+00 by: Dan Lyke

Grin. Actually, Polly, I'm a Yankee by upbringing, grew up in upstate New York and then high school down in Connecticut, before I became a Damn Yankee for nearly a decade in 'Nooga...

The ropes thing was a North Carolina experience, although I do remember having a male friend borrow my climbing gear, and then later teaching a female friend who had been dating said male friend how to climb, and she looked over climbing gear and say knowingly: "Oh, I remember seeing that gear before."

I was a little slow at that point, but even I was able to put together that since I was teaching her how to climb the previous exposure hadn't been in a ... vertical ... context.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-21 19:29:36.733522+00 by: ebradway

I was a gymnast in high school - try giants on a high bar and dismounts involving multiple flips... Of course, we had some padding...