I had to smile when I heard the young preacher from the prairies talk about his sense of coming into my area of the country. He had come from a place where you could see a dog running fifty miles away. Now, he stood gazing up at whitecapped peaks which tickled the clouds. Trees stood so tall all around you were fortunate to see a few blocks down the paved streets. Most prairie folk get claustrophobic at everything so close. He said, “I feel like I’m being hugged.”

Mountains can be barriers or opportunities for adventure. It depends on how you look at them. Right now, I’m in a place called Whistler, BC where the ski hills rise all around. In the summer, mountain bikers exchange their skis and snowboards for two wheeled adrenaline machines which they launch off hills and which they maneuver around crazy hair pin turns spewing dust in their wake. There seems to be no age limit for those who will test their endurance against the steep terrain but every once in a while the day is pierced with the noise of a siren to show that someone’s adventure didn’t go so well. Yesterday, a helicopter joined the rescuers to take the injured elsewhere for better help. Others in the village pause a few moments, then turn back to their own adventure. The lines never seem to shorten.

The role of 12 Tasks is not to create a sense of panic or claustrophobia with the young participants. We want to encourage parents and teens to get a sense of being hugged, called to adventure, challenged, and pulled together for some memories that will last beyond a day. The 12 Tasks are like small mountains to be scaled and enjoyed. Of course, Shel and I took our children up a literal mountain as a way of culminating the whole rite of passage experience, and you may find that a helpful climax as well. Testing ones endurance, and getting a grand perspective from the top of a peak, has a lasting sense of satisfaction at what is possible.

Hearing the sirens from others who have crashed out can stimulate a sense of fear and anxiety. It is wise to understand the lay of the land, potential dangers, and ready supports that are in place through each of the tasks. This involves clear communication between parent and child. The confidence, encouragement and excitement of the parent can be contagious if it is genuine. And why not express these attributes? This is an adventure for you as well. 

Again, momentum and the sense of adventure can multiply if several parents and children are involved in the process together. Perhaps your first adventure is taking the risk of sharing what you are hoping to do with your own child and inviting another parent and child into the adventure. The book, 12 Tasks, lists how this all works and we welcome any questions you might have to get this launched in your community. 

A group of bikers just rolled by, chatting, laughing and covered in dust. They’re helmeted, covered from head to toe in padded armor, but they are vibrating with joy as they come off their chance to live on the edge. I’m looking up again. It’s a long way to the top but I hear the mountain calling. Maybe you can hear one in your area. Keep us in touch with your adventures along the way.