As a child, I wasn’t a fan of team sports, so gym class was not my favorite. But I loved when we did obstacle courses. When we come across obstacles, there are many things we can do.

We can give up, turning around and returning to our starting position.

We can stop right in front of them, staring at them and hoping they go away.

I’ve never found these two to be helpful but have found many that others that have, though which works often depends on the circumstance.

We can try to walk through them.

We can try to crawl under them

We can try to hop over them.

We can try to walk around them.

I feel like I’m reading my kids an old Dora the Explorer book “can’t go over them, can’t go under them, gotta go around them.” But in the books I read, Dora never talked about the option that I think we often ignore.

We can try to move them.

So often we get so stuck seeing obstacles as permanent, when they don’t always have to be. Sometimes, they are, like an illness we have to walk through. But other times, they are moveable, like the laws surrounding mental health care services.

In the mental health clinic where I’ve been interning, I’ve had the privilege to sit in on agency steering committee meetings. There I hear about many obstacles people face. I hear stories of people stuck in front of obstacles, wishing them away, while others are doing their best to walk through them. Sometimes, like my daughter did playing this afternoon, they get snagged by a pricker bush and pulled down all together. But they get up and keep going. And sometimes, we have to help move the obstacle for families, advocating for change in laws so families can have easier access to services.

What obstacles are you facing today? Are you stuck staring at them? Are you able to walk around, through or over them? Or do you need to try to move them?

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