Spainhour Summer Summit Challenge 2022: Radley—Mt. Ellinor

Spainhour Summer Summit Challenge. 3 down, 1 to go.

Traditionally, the Mt. Ellinor summit is the rite of passage for finishing kindergarten—so it was for my three boys—but for my daughter, we went ahead with it after preschool. Consider it affirmative action if you want, but she needed to be challenged, and she was raised with three older brothers. She has spent her whole life keeping up with (and in some cases passing) them, so I’m happy to help her in her efforts to rise above.

Radley is girl strong. I’ve raised three boys, and I’ve tested their strength. I know boy strong, and Radley is something else. Hers is of a different quality. It’s more stubborn. She’d regularly complain, and just as regularly refuse help. She wanted to know if her brothers went to the “tippity top” (the highest point on the summit: they technically didn’t—she did, and is looking forward to rubbing it in their faces when she gets home).

Her strength is also more relational. She’d whine about her legs hurting and (after telling her to suck it up) she’d ask how I was feeling. She stopped to talk to literally everyone we passed (which was super annoying but indicative of a strength nonetheless). Half the time up the trail she was having an imaginary conversation (out loud) with two of her best friends (even doing their voices). She also thanked me every time she saw a new vista or enjoyed a moment or saw some sculpted feature that inspired awe. My boys don’t do that. I felt appreciated, a nice spin on this trip.

And that fish you see in the picture below—after fishing for 30 or so minutes with no action, Radley suggested we pray for Jesus to help us fish. We did. The next three casts—no joke—we caught three fish.

On the way up, one person we passed commented (observing my five-year-old daughter tackling the challenge he was facing), “my ten-year-old son wouldn’t even do something like this—he’d be whining the whole way up.” I told him: “That’s on you, dad. Kids can do whatever they think their parents think they can do.” I think my kids can do anything. They never cease to amaze me. And with this one…God may have just broken the mold. Who knows the places she’ll go???


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