My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments;
for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare they will give you.
Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them round your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favour and good repute
in the sight of God and of people.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
Our son isn’t built for speed. He’s on track to be taller than his daddy, probably 6’5” or more if the pediatrician’s charts are right. Already football coaches and Friday-night fans have sized him up as a defensive tackle, even though my 8-year-old son would rather stage an attack with knights in his medieval castle or paint the vivid colors of a perfect sunrise.
But he wanted to try ice skating with his sister. My husband and I were out of town for the first lesson, so my mom took the kids to the rink.
When we got home that evening, we knew the lesson had been tough by the looks in their eyes. We heard about how he spent most of the hour on his knees or butt, slipping and falling each time he tried to balance on the thin blades.
I gave him a hug and asked if anything hurt. He quickly shrugged from my arms and went back to building Minecraft houses on the iPad.
My mom relayed the story of each fall, including the one that drove him off the ice. With tears streaming down his face, he told her that he’d done the splits and hurt his boy parts, but this was the only and last time they were going to talk about that. Period.
The next Saturday, we had a decision to make. We were torn between letting him quit, not wanting him to get hurt and bruised, and making him try again, of learning that you can’t quit the first time things go awry. We erred on the tough love side, despite his pleas and tears and the sad-dog face that almost always gets me to change my mind.
The whole way there, I prayed. Please God. Help him to find his footing. Give him confidence to try again. And if possible, keep him from falling – and hurting the boy parts.
He wobbled onto the ice. Within 30 seconds, he started to lose his balance, and his arms flailed out, desperate to recover. And he did, thank God.
He only fell once in the whole lesson. When he completed a part-glide, part-march across the ice, his face broke into a smile. Later in the class, the teacher showed them how to fall – and how to get back up. By the end, he was skating. It wasn’t graceful. It wasn’t fast. But he was doing it.
As parents, it’s hard to know when to push and when to back down. And a lot of times, I suspect we don’t get it right.
Then I think about that afternoon, which was so much more than a lesson in ice skating. And I consider my relationship with God the Father, of putting aside my fears and trusting God with all my heart, of learning time and again: it’s not the fall that’s important but the getting up.
When have you needed to trust completely in God? Were you able to let go of your own anxieties, hurts and fears? What keeps you from trusting in the Lord with all your heart?