Why Nik Wallenda’s Grand Canyon Stunt Was an Insult to His Wife and Kids
Life is full of danger. When we choose to get out of bed each morning we face the possibility of having something bad happen; it’s just the way it is. Parents teach t children not to touch a hot stove or stick their fingers in a light socket because it could cause physical harm. Accidents can happen at any given time to anyone of us, however, what does it say about someone who chases danger? What does it say to someone’s family and friends when they choose to do something so dangerous simply for the thrill of it all, while risking their life in the process?
Last week tight rope walker extraordinaire Nik Wallenda chose put his life on the line by walking ¼ mile across the Little Colorado River Gorge in the Grand Canyon some 1,500 feet above ground without any type of safety device. A feat that I consider selfish and inconsiderate. I stumbled across the live television coverage late Sunday evening and decided to see if in fact he was really going to do it. It was sort of like watching a bad horror movie in the sense that I couldn’t tear my eyes away even though I really didn’t want to see him fall to his death. Social media was all abuzz about Wallenda’s courage, strength, agility and his faith. The faith part is what really got my attention. Well-known televangelist Joel Osteen was with Wallenda and his family in their motor home offering prayer and spiritual support during the time leading up to the walk. With the cameras rolling Osteen joined with the family, friends and those working on the project in prayer asking for God to provide Wallenda with a successful outcome. Among the group of adults that included Wallenda’s parents were his wife and three young children. With cameras at every angle and a helicopter buzzing around above Wallenda took to the wire and began to pray out loud. As he continued on his walk his wife and children were shown watching on in what I consider fear and agony of the possibility of losing their father and husband in the event he slipped and fell. Osteen could be seen in constant prayer as he stood with the family.
At some point during the 22 minute event I found myself getting somewhat agitated (even angry). What a selfish act I was witnessing. Was performing this stunt for his own thrill and self-satisfaction more important than his family? Having his young children there to witness the event was in my opinion unacceptable. What would have happened if he fell? His children would have had the image of their father plummeting to his death etched in their memories forever. What made this event so important that the emotional welfare of his children were ignored? His wife is old enough to make her own decisions whether she watched or not, but his children are too young to make that kind of choice.
My faith tells me that I must trust in the Lord to see me through life; the good and the bad. However, what I struggle with is choosing to do something dangerous and relying on faith and prayer to make sure we make it through. Nik Wallenda chose to put his life on the line doing something that was for his own self-gratification and thrills and then appeared to rely on God to get him across that wire. Social media was all aflutter with folks praising God for getting him through this harrowing event; but what would those same folks say about God if he had fallen and died? Would it have been God’s fault if Wallenda was not successful? I believe that all too often people rely on faith or what they perceive as faith during tough times only to reject it all when things don’t turn out like they want them too.
If Nik Wallenda was a single man with no children and chose to perform this dangerous feat then so be it, but to drag his family through the anxiety pain and worry is unacceptable and selfish. He’s already planning his next big walk, possibly he says between two high rise buildings in NYC. I hope he changes his mind; I am doubtful that he will. If he does choose to do it I hope he considers leaving his children at home. After all they can always watch the replay on the DVR.