By Keoni Takarada

This inspirational story comes from a 12-year-old boy who had a memorable experience after going camping for the first time.

I tended to give up easily when confronted with challenges. But it was my experience camping in the great outdoors where I learned about the importance of challenging myself. 

Before we left for camp, my dad told me that whenever I have a choice to take the easier path or the harder path, I should take the harder one because it will help me grow and make God happier. It wasn’t till after this experience that I actually realized that.

On the first day of camp, Grandpa Ken took me to the nearby river. There was no running water or showers so the only way to wash yourself was in the river. I stuck my foot in the water and it was so freezing cold! I immediately got out and told myself I would never go back again! Grandpa Ken talked to me about how this challenge reveals who I am and what kind of character I am developing. First I thought, “Maybe I just don’t like challenges.” He said, “Maybe that’s true, but if it is, you need to look at what kind of life that will lead to.” 

The next day, Grandpa Ken encouraged me to go again. I reluctantly agreed but thought I’d only wash my hands. I’m not going back in. When we got down to the river, there were other kids playing in and enjoying the river! I asked him, “How can they have fun when it’s so freezing cold?” He told me that anything worthwhile requires some challenge. I thought about it and decided to challenge myself.

Long story short, I kept going back to the river every day and started training myself mentally to think more positively. Eventually, I got over the freezing cold water and started having more fun! At that point, I realized that I was going to be the type of person to take on more challenges in my life to grow, and also not give up as easily. It was all about taking the hard path that would help me grow. 

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