When we first arrived at the theme park on Saturday, we were trying to ease the kids into the idea of riding all the rides. They’re all finally tall enough and seem mostly brave enough. But our little plan backfired on us a bit. My sister Kim was using the handy-dandy Six Flags app to help us plot our way. It gives up-to-date info on wait times and a live, interactive map to help you find your way.
It also links to promo videos about each ride.
While we were standing in the long line to ride the Judge Roy Scream, we were discussing the option to ride the Texas Giant next. The kids are all circled around Kim looking at the options, so I grabbed this pic. What happened next was totally unexpected. She clicked the YouTube link to watch the promo and somehow, it advanced to the next video entitled “Roller Coaster Death, What Went Wrong on the Texas Giant”. (thank you YouTube, for your ‘suggested’ videos) Being that the kids are all tall enough to ride, they’re also all old enough to read. Of course, she immediately closed the window.
But you can imagine what happened next.
“Did that say roller coaster death? Did someone die on the Texas Giant? MOM!?!?” Everyone in line got to listen to all the questions. I mean to say, ALL the questions. It wasn’t exactly the way we planned to ease into our roller coaster riding experience. Some of the kids laughed and got over it quickly.
Some did not.
I wish I could tell you I knew the magic words of empathy that helped them soar right past their fears and ride every ride. I don’t and they didn’t. I tried every trick I knew. I even googled “How to help kids conquer their fears of roller coasters” to no avail. In fact, by the end of the night, I completely lost my cool after waiting in line after line, only for panicked kids to bail out at the boarding station. I’ve been thinking about that a lot since then.
A vivid portrayal of the vastly different ways we humans process experiences in life. From such a young age, we derive meaning from our experiences and hold tightly to beliefs that affect everything we do. I raise my two boys almost exactly the same and yet, their experiences are entirely different. Which, in turn, makes their instinctual choices entirely different.
It turns out, adults are exactly the same way.
We can all share the same experiences, like the election, or Thanksgiving dinner, and internalize them entirely different from one another. The beliefs we hold affect how we internalize everything. It’s why we show up so differently in the world.
It’s why, over the next few days, we must clothe ourselves in empathy and compassion.
You may be ready to hop on The Texas Giant, but your Sister-In-Law just learned about a tragic ending there. Give her some space. Trust her experience, knowing it’s very different from yours. Choose to believe she’s doing the best she can.
Don’t let it build and storm off, like I did. It doesn’t work out very well. When you feel tempted to school her in the ways of the world. . . remember the Texas Giant.
When you know better, you do better.
Now you know. 😉
to more Love,