What We Can Learn From Roller Skating
“Let us not become weary of doing good for at the proper time, we will reap the harvest.” Galatians 6:9
I laced up the old, stinky, rental skates—at some point warm from someone else’s feet—but my youngest son wanted to learn how to roller skate. It was hard for me to explain to him the motions he needed to make with his own feet without skating myself.
He was somewhat hesitant to even try, because the last time he tried, it didn’t go so well.
I took a few spins around the rink to warm up as he watched. I touched my toe stop to the hardwood floor as I got closer to him sitting on the carpeted bench. He had been intently watching me, taking it all in.
“You ready to try?” I asked a little winded extending my hand towards him.
“How did you get so good?” He asked.
I laughed, “Practice. Lots of practice.”
“I knew you were going to say that,” he replied.
I didn’t want to ask him to do anything I wasn’t willing to do myself, so I took his hand, explaining each motion. He watched my feet. He attempted to copy my movements. Teaching by doing. Learning by observing.
“You have to keep moving your feet if you want to keep moving around,” I instructed. It was the truth. I knew if he stopped, he would fall down or possibly get knocked down by another skater. It’s truly a balancing act, and I was his sidekick helping him stay upright.
After circling around the floor a couple of times together, hands clasped tightly, lights flashing, music moving our bodies, he was skating solo. Even though I taught him the basics, he found his own groove. His stride was shorter and a little slower understandably. He was a little less balanced, but he was skating all the same.
I took a break and sat on the side watching him make his rounds reflecting on all the nights I skated as a child. I absolutely loved it. I still do. At the end of the night, we both went home with sore feet and legs from our efforts. We had been using muscles we hadn’t used recently. It was to be expected.
My skating experience left me thinking the obvious. Showing people how to do something is more effective than telling them. Don’t ask others to do what you’re not willing to do. Sometimes people need us to hold their hands and help them keep their balance for a few rounds. Sometimes people don’t do things exactly like we would do them, but it doesn’t mean their way is absolutely wrong and our way is absolutely right. Their way may be different. At the end of the night, you both make it around the rink. Sometimes people just need to find their own groove. Everyone’s paths are different.
And then there’s truth—something uncompromisable—because if you stop moving in the right direction, if you ever stop following the greatest Teacher, you are surely to fall down or get knocked down—not progressing toward the end goal. If you never put on the skates, you’ll never learn. It may not always look pretty, and it is certain there will be times it’s downright uncomfortable. Putting in the work is necessary.
Sometimes we want to quit.. We ask, “What’s the point?” It’s in these moments, we have to keep pushing, one motion at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time.
When we hit the floor flesh burning and torn, we have to get back up, dust ourselves off and keep skating.
When it’s all over, and we are called home, we get to trade in our stinky, worn, rental skates for a brand new pair! What are you waiting for? Lace em’ up and get out there! And be willing to help someone else as you circle around the rink of life.
P.S. Anyone else have images of roller skating in heaven now—angels holding the limbo stick—with praise and worship music playing? No, just me. Okay. I’ll stop now. :D
Father, thank you for being our Teacher. Thank you for helping us keep moving when we want to stop, when we want to give up. Thank you for sending people along our paths to encourage us and help us. We praise you for your goodness to us! We ask you to help us to be aware of others in need. Help us to be your hands and your feet.