Why All Kids Need a Rope

Tonight’s 10 p.m. wish: that my son has a safe, fun and life-changing experience this week in Peru.

Not Peru, Indiana – Peru, SOUTH AMERICA.

How in the world did my husband and I put a 12-year-old on a plane to Peru without us?

His incredible Spanish immersion school (a public magnet elementary in Lawrence Township) offers a school-chaperoned international trip to outgoing sixth graders each year. The itinerary looks stunning. They will be gone for almost two weeks.

I held it together fine saying goodbye in the airport. But something struck me in the gut when I saw this.

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These big, lanky, almost-teenaged kids filed away down the airport hallway in a calmly and orderly way, filled with confidence and excitement. A lump grew in my throat.

It reminded me so much of a similar image I saw with these same kids just seven years ago.

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This was their first day of kindergarten. Most of them spoke no Spanish. They were like little deer in the headlights, dazed and confused.

Their teacher, Mrs. McBride, had gently placed every child’s hand on a thin white rope. “La cuerda,” she showed them. “The rope.” They didn’t understand her words, but they got her message: keep your hand on the rope, and I will guide you.

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My son Calvin and his classmates obeyed. They all held on and seemed grateful for the security.

They had a rope.

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As they turned away from their parents to march down the hall to their classroom, parents wiped away tears. But we all knew our kids were in good hands.

They had a rope.

Today, watching them walk down that huge airport hallway, I thought to myself, “At least they don’t need a rope anymore.”

But then I realized something.

They still have a rope. 

“La cuerda” isn’t gone, it has just been replaced.

Their new rope is made out of the maturity, respect, and confidence that their teachers, administrators and parents have instilled in them.

It’s a lot like the invisible cord that connects mothers with their children long after the umbilical cord is cut.

That one is made of unbreakable, unshakeable love.

May all of our kids keep a hand on these important, invisible ropes throughout their journeys.

Trisha Lawless
Trisha Lawless
Trisha Lawless is an Indianapolis-based corporate communications advisor and freelance writer who began her career as a television news journalist. She enjoys performing in local theatre productions as her schedule permits, and has appeared in roles with Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis Civic Theatre, and BobDirex. Trisha and her husband Ben are proud residents of Indy’s Historic Irvington neighborhood where they live with their children (middle school through college age) and Golden Retriever.

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