New Heights

Jamie sat staring out the window of her third-grade classroom. Her class had just finished lunch. Recess was next; the most anticipated time of day, every child’s favorite subject. Every child that is, except Jamie Frost.

Jamie was great at everything. She excelled in spelling and even won the spelling bee last year in second grade. When her class performed the play, she didn’t run off the stage crying like her friend Tommy did. Oh, and when Lilly got mad and put gum in her hair, Jamie sat still and let Miss Sally get the gum out even though it hurt. It’s true, Jamie is smart and brave, but no one remembers any of that now. Now, all she is known for is the girl that is too scared to go down the slide. Just like that, she went from being the best in class, the one that everyone looked up to for leadership; and now, she’s the class coward.

“Ok class, it is time to get your coats on and line up,” said Miss Sally, Jaime’s teacher. Slowly, Jamie got up and went to the coat rack.

“What is wrong?” Tommy asked. “It’s play time! I think we are going to play a game of dodge ball.”

“Oh! Ok.” Jamie said, perking up. She liked dodge ball. With the class busy playing a game, there would be no time for the slide today. That was a close call.

Play time came and went as did the rest of the day without incident. Jamie is relieved when the dismal bell rang, and it was time to go home. “How was your day, Sweetheart?” Jamie’s mother asked.

“Fine,” Jamie replied.

“Momma, what would you do if you couldn’t do everything?” Jamie asked as she buckled her

“What? What would make you ask that?” her mom chuckled.

“Because, Momma, I need to know. I can’t do everything, and I want to.” Jamie whined.

“First of all, Jamie, even I cannot do everything. There are things even moms cannot do, and that is ok. If there is something I cannot do, and I need to, then I practice until I can.” Jamie’s mom looked in the rear-view mirror and saw that Jamie was thinking hard on this. This seemed to ease Jamie’s mind. So, all I need to do is practice, she thought. I can see how high I can climb at home, then I won’t be scared on the slide, Perfect!

Sensing whatever dilemma Jamie was going through was now averted, her mom changed the
subject. “Honey, when we get home, be sure to put away your things, feed your hamster and
come help me set the table. When supper is over you can play outside if you would like.”

“Yes, ma’am”, Jamie replied.

When the car pulled up into the driveway, Jamie got excited. She had a plan! But first, the
chores. She rushed to her room and put away her book bag, fed Milo her hamster, and almost tripped down the stairs to the kitchen.

“Slowdown in the house.” Jamie’s father warned. “You are going to get hurt”.

“Ok, Daddy, sorry.” Jamie stopped and made herself calm down.

“What is the rush all about? I haven’t seen you this excited since last Christmas. Wait! It’s not Christmas is it?” Justin, her Father teased.

Jamie started laughing, “No, Daddy! I’m just excited to go outside and play today.” Jamie’s father scooped her up in his big arms and kissed her. “Well, let’s make sure we eat all this good food your mom made us first, shall we?”

Supper seemed to take forever, it was a good thing her mom cooked so well. Free for the evening, Jamie took off to the barn. She had until Sunday night to get this right. All she had to do was practice! She needed to get as high as she could. She looked and looked. In a corner she saw some buckets. That won’t do, too wobbly. Jamie tried to stack the cardboard boxes that she found in one of the horse stalls. They stacked up nicely; but when she tried to climb them, down they tumbled. She was about to give up for the night and go inside when she saw what she needed: a ladder.

Jamie’s mother was washing up the supper dishes when she looked out the kitchen window and screamed, “Justin! Hurry! It’s Jamie. She is on the ladder against the barn!” Both she and her father ran outside.

“Jamie!” They cried in unison, as they reached the ladder where she had climbed nearly to the top.

“Help me” Jamie sobbed. “I’m stuck.”

As Jamie’s father started carefully climbing the ladder, her mother asked, “What on earth are you doing, Child? Don’t you know you could have fallen and gotten hurt?”

Jamie couldn’t respond. She was crying. Her heart was broken. She tried to climb all the way to the top, but it was just too high. Her father helped her make her way back down, and Jamie cried even harder. “’s ok, Baby, Daddy has you now.” She was safe and thankful for that, but all she could think about is what a coward she was again.

Safely back in the house, Jamie sat on her mom’s lap. As her mom wiped her tears away, she asked her, “Jamie dear, why were you climbing that ladder?”

“I needed to practice, Momma.” Jamie said on the brink of tears again.

Her father questioned, “For what?”

“I cannot climb up the slide at our playground, Daddy!” When Jamie finally said that out loud to her parents, oddly she felt a bit better. She continued, “This playground isn’t like the one that we played on in second grade. It has better swings and a jungle gym. But the slide is so much taller than the other. I tried to climb it but got stuck. I couldn’t make it to the top. I was too scared.”

“So, you thought by climbing our ladder out by the barn, you could practice and be able to climb the ladder on the slide?” Her mom asked for clarification.

“Yes ma’am” Jamie responded.

“Oh, Sweetie! That was brave of you. Our ladder is much higher than a ladder on a slide. I am glad that you were willing to practice something that you are not good at yet. That makes us very proud.” Her father said.

“Yes, Jamie, we are proud; but you need to know something else.” Her mother said, “It is important to practice, but it is also just as important to ask for help if you need it.”

“I wanted to be brave, Momma” Jamie said rubbing her sleepy eyes.

“Asking for help is one of the bravest things you can do. It takes a lot of courage to admit you cannot do something,” Momma said as she carried Jamie upstairs to her bed.

Jamie’s mother helped her get undressed and into her favorite unicorn pajamas. As Jamie climbed up into bed she asked, “Daddy, Momma, will you help me not be scared so I can climb the slide at school?”

“You bet, Baby Girl” her father replied. They both kissed Jamie goodnight and she fell asleep.

Jamie sat staring out the window of her third-grade classroom. It was almost time for Recess! She was so excited. Her parents had taken her to the park on Saturday. They practiced and practiced. She was ready. Today was the day! Ms. Sally gave the call for the children to get their coats and line up. She practically ran to the coat rack.

“Jamie” Tommy called. “Why are you so happy?” He asked.

“Oh, you will see!” she said eagerly.

Outside Tommy said, “We are going to play dodge ball. Do you want to play?”

“Sure do!” she said as she took Tommy’s hand.

“But first, we slide!”