Mother Takes Son on Challenging Climb of Mount Kilimanjaro to Teach Him the Value of Hard Work

  On my son’s 12th birthday, I decided to give him a birthday present: to take him to the top of Africa’s highest mountain – Kilimanjaro. The minimum age for climbing in Kilimanjaro National Park is 12.
  Why do you want to do this? Because I think it is too easy for young people to get everything, so it is not a pity to lose it. In the 12 years of my son’s growth, I have never seen him do his best for anything, and there is nothing that requires him to do his best.
  Parents of our generation really protect their children very well. Many people will think, isn’t it that we work so hard to make children suffer less, have more choices, and have more sense of security? However, I have come to a conclusion through observation: children don’t appreciate it, they get a lot without hard work, but they are not so happy. Many of our own joys are the joys we get after working hard.
  Climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro requires 5 consecutive days of climbing, with 4 camps on the way. From the 3,700-meter camp to the 4,700-meter camp, the altitude rises by 1,000 meters, and it takes about 10 to 12 hours. My altitude adaptation is very good, but my son will have a little altitude sickness, so that night at the 3700m camp, he could not sleep well and basically lost his appetite. I can only tell him that he must eat and sleep, so that he can gather enough energy to continue walking.
  When he was about to reach the 4,700-meter camp, he experienced the first complete depletion of muscle glycogen and liver glycogen. Sugar is fuel for the body. We usually run, and after about 30 minutes, the blood sugar is basically exhausted, and then fat burning begins. The liver breaks down fat and protein into new glycogen, which is used by the brain and muscles. But if it’s consumed faster than your liver can break it down, you’re exactly the same as a car with no gas or a cell phone with no battery.
  So, when I was waiting for him at the 4,700-meter camp, he was only 10 meters away from me, and he just couldn’t walk. If I don’t go to pick him up, I just wait for him to come over step by step. The real challenge has just begun, and there is no room for distress. The 4,700-meter camp cannot stay overnight, and can only sleep for about 2 hours, and then start climbing to the summit from midnight. why? for safety.
  Kilimanjaro is a peak located on the equator with an altitude of nearly 6,000 meters, which means that in the afternoon, there will be strong convective weather on the mountain and it will rain. Once it rains in such a place, people will freeze to death. So, we could only start climbing up in the middle of the night, reach the summit in the wee hours of the morning, and start descending around 10 am. This is the only way to be safe.
  On the eve of the summit, I said to my son’s coach: “Please ensure his safety. Under the premise of safety, whether you will climb to the summit or not, you can’t decide, I can’t decide, let him decide for himself.” The reason for saying this is because Because my son and I are going separately, we have our own coaches. It’s not that I’m cruel, it’s also for safety. Everyone’s physical strength distribution is different. If I start faster than him, it will destroy his rhythm. He is at risk.
  During the climb to the summit, as a person with very good plateau adaptability, I also suffered from depletion of muscle glycogen and liver glycogen 3 times in the last 3 hours. Because I am more afraid of cold, under the stimulation of cold weather, blood sugar consumption is very fast. What does this “exhaustion” feel like? It’s just that I feel that the ultraviolet rays are too strong, and my face will be damaged by the sun. I have a sunscreen in my pocket, but I don’t have the strength to take it out.
  At this time, the coach will not hesitate to squeeze a piece of energy gel with ice into your mouth, just like quickly adding a handful of alcohol to a fire that is about to go out, and you will be ignited again. After being forced to “burn” three times in a row, I made it to the top. Then, I did what a mother would do, which was to wait for my son for 2 hours on that very cold mountain top. I actually don’t know if he will come up, I’ll have to wait and see.
  So in the end, when I saw the orange-red figure of my son slowly approaching me, I shed tears, because he came up by himself, and what I wanted to do was done. I later asked him why he decided to come up. He said: “I’m here, isn’t it just to climb to the top?”
  More delightful things to come. On the way down the mountain, my son kept walking in front of me. You know, starting from the 3,700-meter camp and returning to the 3,700-meter camp after reaching the summit is a 36-hour “nightmare”. First, we need to reach 4700 meters from 3700 meters in 12 hours, rest for 2 hours, and climb to the summit in 6 hours. I waited for him on the top of the mountain and was frozen for another 2 hours. Then, it took nearly 2 hours to retreat to the 4700-meter camp, where we could only rest for 1 hour, not longer, because the physical strength was exhausted, and it was dangerous to stay at that altitude. No matter how tired you are, you have to grit your teeth and persevere, continue to walk for 10 hours, and return to the 3700-meter camp.
  When descending from the 4700m camp, I felt that my energy was exhausted. I shouted in my heart: “Is there a sliding pole? Can anyone lift me down?” During that section of the journey, my son walked very fast and was always far ahead. At that moment, I felt the confidence and happiness of a 12-year-old boy after completing a difficult self-challenge. This kind of happiness is something I have never seen in him: you try your best, you win, you know You can, so you are happy.
  Now, the son is in the ninth grade, and his teacher asks each parent to record a short video for the child. I said to him in the video: “There is far more than a Kilimanjaro on the road of life. I remember how you fought hard at that time, and how happy you were when you went down the mountain. I spent the same year in the ninth grade. I was still there. Wait for your mother, I will provide you with all the logistical support, you decide whether to go up or down. My only wish is, when you climb to the top of a mountain next time, can your posture look better?”

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