When we were in Lake Powell at the “sandy hill” I mentioned that Dave bet a couple of the kids that they couldn’t make it up and back in five minutes.  And they took him up on it and he was wrong.  Those kids were fast. (back HERE)

But what I neglected to say (because I was trying to scramble to get that post up), was that after that victorious run, Dave bet the older kids they couldn’t do it in four minutes just for a little fun.  More money on the line, but less time.  
Two of the older boys (in their twenties) took him up on it.  I think they were kind of buoyed up by the fact that the younger kids had done it, they were in pretty good shape, and plus it doesn’t hurt that they had their ladies to impress šŸ™‚  But they were also a little skeptical.  They would have to run FAST.  And that hill is no cakewalk I tell you!
So the timer went off and off they ran.  One slow and steady, the other quick as a whip.  

They ran, we cheered them on from the bottom of the hill, shouting out the minute markers as they passed. 

Those poor boys ran their guts out.  
And they came in short.  
They didn’t make it.  
But they sure created some great entertainment for us all and they were such great sports, coming in huffing and puffing with big smiles stretched across their faces from all the cheering.
And that was it.  We packed up and took off back to our camp.  But it wasn’t the end of the story for me because I keep thinking about how awesome it was that those kids were willing to put themselves “in the arena.”  They knew it would be tough.  They knew the chance was bigger that they wouldn’t make it than that they would.  But they tried it anyway.  It was pretty powerful.
My girls and I got talking about that Sandy Hill experience somewhere on that vast expanse of never-ending road we traveled and much to their chagrin, it gave me the idea to have them memorize one of my all-time favorite quotes from Theodore Roosevelt.  I mean, it is on our wall and everything (wall is HERE), and I memorized it as a kid, so they should too, right?  Ha!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; we skipped a little part right here …[the man] who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Oh I just love it. 
At first there was some good complaining going on, especially when they saw how long that thing is, but there was a DQ blizzard on the line at the next stop which got Grace and Claire going and then suddenly Lucy popped up from the way-back wanting to join in.  At first I figured I may have to cut it down a little more for that girl, but she got it even faster than her sisters.  And those rolling eyes became glistening sparkly ones because hey, they themselves were “in that arena” doing the memorizing. 
How grateful I am for great words to live by, and for good examples from others who are willing to put themselves out there who are willing to dare greatly to try for victory even if they come up short.
I hope that my girls will remember that afternoon on that hill, and later talking about it in the car, big sky and never-ending road ahead, whisking through all kinds of beauty, that they put themselves in the arena, how good it felt, and that they can (and will have to) do it over and over and over again in their lives.  
There is so much growth in to be gained that world arena out there from both the victory and defeat that will come our way.  May we remember to learn and grow from it all.


  1. Brene Brown introduced me to that quote and it has become life changing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. And I love the challenge! I may have to memorize it with my kids too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *