behavioural, daily chaos, exercise, Neuro Diverse

Let Go and Learn to Fly: How Challenge Builds Capacity

fly, grow, change, challenge, fly, flyer, flying trapeze, metaphor, fear, courage, try, sports, let go, growth, comfort zone, fear, adhd, asd, anxiety, add, special needs, neurodiversity, perseverance, #allmaddhere

When is the last time you took yourself out of your comfort zone? It takes courage to let go and challenge yourself. It matters little if you fall or fly if you are brave enough to reach for the sky.

Fear Factor

Change is hard.

It can be difficult to remain open to trying new things – Especially for many who struggle with anxiety. (A common co-mordity for many ADHD and ASD kids and adults.)

Because knowing what to expect can reduce anxiety by allowing us to feel in control, we can get stuck in routines; our own way of doing things; our own thought patterns.

We let our fears overshadow the possibilities.

Take the Leap

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Ever wished you could fly? Our family tried Flying Trapeze at Rocky Mountain Flying Trapeze last summer.

We didn’t know what to expect! Each of us approached the challenge in different ways depending on our comfort level. With a fear of heights, could I even do it? Why would I want to?

This new adventure – a rich literal respresentation of disengagement, freedom, and growth – reminded us that if we want to fly, we have to first let go.

Learn to Fly

As young athletes involved in numerous sports, my children are very active and fit. Still, my sons were nervous about how they would do trying this completely new physical activity. My daughter was worried that she didn’t know what it takes to be good on the trapeze.

But they were keen to try. 

Two of them were soon flying high, performing the first trick with ease. Progressing quickly with only a few more tries, it was easy to understand how frequent flyers can quickly move on to the exciting finale of performing a Catch! Though rich with metaphors, trying Trapeze was an experience that didn’t even require a longwinded mom discussion to be a clear concrete example of growth. (As my Tweens reach for greater control, they are not always big fans of those talks lately!)

The most important thing it took for them to gain new skills and improve was a positive attitude toward something new. Encouraging our kids to work through the unfamiliar and to become actively engaged in something new can be all it takes to increase their capacity and skill set – whether that be physical literacy; flexible thinking; perseverance….or anything really!

I feel like maybe I just described parenthood in general!

The Struggle is Real

Of course, trying something outside your comfort zone is not always as easy as adopting a Can-Do attitude. NeuroDiverse brains that struggle with flexible thinking can have an extra hard time when approaching the unfamiliar.

It wasn’t quite so easy for me or one of my boys. Click to read Challenge Yourself to New Heights: Flying Trapeze about my first fly and learn more our local club.

If you or your NeuroDiverse child struggles with trying new things because of fear or lack of confidence, check out these stories on Mighty Girl’s Chasing Your Dreams about girls who discover their inner strength.

Let Go! What if you Fly? 

courage, brave, try, attempt, capacity, skill, skills, different, grow, growth, adhd, asd, add, brain, brains, kid, kids, family, #allmaddhere

Courage. cour·age /ˈkərij/ 1. the power or quality of dealing with or facing danger, fear, pain, etc.

Really, I am maybe most proud of my son who didn’t fly at first try.

He bravely faced a fear of heights to try Flying Trapeze. He struggled to climb the ladder…and then refused to get off the platform.

There were tears. He was scared and no longer able to listen to reason. He screamed as he tried to negotiate and take control. 

Oh, my mama’s heart as I watched them have to force him off the platform high above the net.

I wasn’t even sure he heard exuberant hoots as everyone there celebrated with him. Staff high-fived him and shared stories of their first fly, all of them confessing their fear. We reminded him it mattered little if he fell or flew. In finding the courage to try something that scared him, he had succeeded. 

Yay for you son. The End, I thought, and didn’t push him to go again.


Maybe the wind whispered Confusius’ words in his ear, softly reassuring him that “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”

He was given the opportunity about a week later to try again. To my great surprise, he was quick to say ‘Yes!’

In fact, he asked to go first. 

And that, my friends, is capital ‘C’ Courage.

Here he is talking about FLYING! (Many thanks to the patience and skills of the Rocky Mountain Flying Trapeze ‘Catch’ team who helped measure success in the trying!!)

Reach for the Sky

I hope my children continue to be brave enough to face their fears; that growth is something they seek and nurture their entire lives.

Inside the kind of courage it takes to persist in challenging yourself lies the ability to touch the stars!

Fly high! Reach for the Sky!


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  • Reply Challenge Yourself to New Heights: Flying Trapeze - mADD worldmADD world January 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    […] Every flyer remembers their racing heart on their first climb up the tall ladder to the trapeze platform, and the exhilaration of taking that first leap. That’s why flyers reciprocate courage and more; they cheer on each other’s achievements and constantly help each other to improve. The encouragement my son received during and after his first fly was the thing that gave him the courage to try again.  Click to watch videos read more about the incredible experience in Let Go and Learn to Fly. […]

  • Reply Erica Gomez January 15, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Joan, I love this! First, I think its wonderful you did it as a family. And, second, it was heartwarming to see your son embrace his fear and discomfort to soar!

    • Reply Joan January 15, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      It was amazing! Such an adventure to experience together – we all approached it differently, and with different skill sets. My heart soared as high as they did – especially in overcoming such fear! I must admit, I am putting this one in the parenting ‘Win’ category.

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