Recently, 60 Minutes ran a segment on a special camp for Ukrainian widows and their children whose husbands and fathers had been killed in the war. Some of the mothers expressed that “time stopped” and that the children were still waiting for their fathers to come home. Shock and fear were keeping them from moving forward, and one of the women noted that she needed “to find strength for myself to bring my children up.”
The camp centered around mountain climbing in the Austrian Alps and was led by a former American Marine, Nathan Schmidt. Nathan himself experienced repeated trauma during his three years fighting the war in Iraq in the early 2000s. He saw mentors and colleagues die in front of him and noted that he was still recovering. His non-profit, Mountain Seed Foundation, empowers participants to cultivate their strengths, resilience, positive emotions, relationships, and a sense of purpose in order to overcome the devastating effects of war.
When correspondent Scott Pelley asked him what he hoped to accomplish with this group of widows and children by taking them on this mountain climbing experience, he replied that they teach the significance of the rope in mountain climbing. When you are on the rope, “it signifies community; it signifies team. You’re never alone on the rope. It signifies courage, because when you’re on the rope, that means you’re climbing a mountain. It also signifies courage. Courage doesn’t mean that you’re not afraid. You are afraid, and you’re going to overcome that fear.” The third pillar of the significance of the rope is responsibility. You’re all together on the rope. If someone is weak, you pull them up. If they’re struggling, you encourage them.
Although it was heart wrenching, the segment left me with hope for those dealing with trauma and grief. As Pelley noted, “the children and mothers who arrived on the bus will not be the same people who return to Ukraine." Community, courage, and responsibility—not just great values on the rope but for how we all can live better lives.
Take care and stay safe.
Fast-paced comedy about high-end contracts lawyer Helen Tudor-Fisk, who is forced to take a job at a shabby, suburban law firm following a humiliating marriage breakdown and a professional fall from grace.