Jesus was extremely clear when He said, “Do not judge.” Judgments are opinions or evaluations seen through the particular lens and worldview of the one making them. Perhaps Jesus was trying to save us the pain and trauma of being evaluated by others who do not know our entire story. Even the most well intended parents cannot know exactly what thoughts and feelings pervade the every day lives of their kids. So Jesus tells us to forego making judgments.
We often have assumptions that were so engrained into who we think we are that we never seek to challenge them. We believe that if something is uncomfortable it should be avoided, and that we are our best, truest selves when surrounded by family, friends, and cultural contexts that are familiar. Although these are irreplaceable pieces of our identity, they can often end up becoming crutches that prevent us from getting to know the parts of ourselves that we can only become acquainted with when faced with a bowl of bugs.
When thinking of traditional leaders, the charming, well spoken, “has all the answers” type typically jumps to mind. However, when instructing courses at Summit Adventure I don’t expect student leaders to have all of the answers – in fact I expect them not to. Learning how to effectively lead does not require a remarkably dynamic individual, but someone who is able to observe the needs of the group being led. A story from last year’s Adventures in Leadership course will hopefully provide some insight into just how impactful our wilderness leadership experiences can be.
“The times they are a changin’.” This famous song notes how events of the 1960s re-shaped America’s cultural landscape. Fervent change continues, creating a technologically focused electronic age far different from the post-Vietnam era of a young Bob Dylan.
Rising 14,409 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier towers so far above Seattle that a person can forecast the day’s weather by it. When the most glaciated peak in the entire continental U.S. is in clear view, the day holds pleasant temperatures and dry skies. If clouds obscure its lofty flanks, settle in for a typical Seattle day- drizzly and bone-chilling gray. In a similar way, Mt. Rainier offers those who would climb it unsurpassed opportunities to assess the human condition.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of a powerful lesson that hunger revealed about my sinful nature. I like food. A lot. Especially when I know I’ve earned it. For example, after a difficult workout or traveling in wilderness areas, I exhibit a strong desire to replenish the calories lost through exertion or exposure to the elements. Friends call it a compulsion. I call it a need.
From July 17th to the 26th, Summit Adventure instructors Daniel Hiebert and Kristen Narum took out five young adults backpacking on a 10-day adventure leadership course through the Sierra National Forest and Ansel Adams Wilderness. Upon their return to Summit’s Base at the end of their trip, I had the privilege to interview three of the participants–Jack, Alex, and Chloe–about the adventures and learning experiences of their longest bout in the backcountry.
What do 3000, 15, 9, and 18 have to do with Patagonia? This is not really a math question as much as it is a statement of performance. These four numbers highlight my son Brayden’s recent trip to the land of Patagonia in Argentina. They will always remind me of the amazing grit he showed throughout our time there. In this blog, I aim to remind others of the surprising strength and resilience that young people astonish us with.