Yesterday at Stoneworks I was about to try a new route when I spotted a little girl — all of six years old — climbing across the wall toward me. I stepped back to let her pass, but quickly found myself coaching her along her traverse. Her mother stood nearby, supervising her younger son.
I pointed out a few foot- and handholds that would help the girl cross, and suggested different approaches she might try. I spotted her when she got scared. When she fell off the wall, she went right back to the beginning and started again — she was determined to do the route all the way through.
During her daughter’s third pass, the mother stepped up next to me.
“Are you an instructor here?”
I laughed. “No, not even close.”
The woman looked at me and smiled. “Why not? You should be.”
I felt my face flush red. I explained that I’m really not all that advanced when it comes to rock climbing. I just knew enough to help her daughter, and didn’t want her to give up.
The mother leaned closer to me, out of earshot of her kids. “You don’t have to be all that advanced to instruct children. You should teach.”