Leading Kids on Rough Terrain
Our children need us to help them see the world around them clearly.
By Clint Fisher, Upper Elementary Principal
This past weekend I had the privilege and honor of running in a race with many other Perimeter families to raise money for Promise 686. (If you would like to be a part of funding foster care for children in need, visit their site.) I showed up to serve and have a great experience with my son and friends. However, in the process, I learned a very impactful lesson.
The race course was not a smooth, easy path, but rather required us to scale hills and climb obstacles. As I navigated the course, I suddenly found myself facing an entirely unexpected type of obstacle. At one point during the race, participants had to swim a short distance to a dock and back again. I dove into the water for my return to the bank. Once I reached shore, I realized that I no longer had my glasses. With a gasp I looked back into seven feet of muddy water and knew there was no hope of seeing.
My Eyes on the Path
Now the real obstacle began! The challenge of running blind took this race to an entirely new level for me. The course wound through a farm, not over paved terrain. The path was full of ruts, rocks, and other obstacles which couldn’t be navigated without some ability to see. But without my glasses, I could only make out shadows and colors.
I told a partner from our team (a former Perimeter School dad) to run on without me, but instead he replied that he would lead me through the race. He ran and I stared at his blurry shoes as he led us to flat paths. He served as my eyes when I couldn't see! He kicked stones out of my path so I would not trip. Every time we approached an obstacle he would begin describing what it required.
I found that I ran harder to keep pace with my friend. Gratitude for his commitment to me birthed a new determination not to give up. It hit me that this unexpected scenario is a beautiful picture of leading our children well.
Helping Kids Run the Race
Often children find themselves blinded by emotions and circumstances. They desperately need their parents to provide godly leadership to help them navigate the tough terrain of life. I had a short and shallow taste of what it felt like to be in severe need. If I had not had someone willing to lead and protect me along the course, I would never have made it to the finish line.
In the same way, our children need us to be the eyes that help them see the world around them clearly. In these moments, I discovered more resolve to run the race of life with my children and with my covenant family. Obstacles are never as intimidating when faced in community.
And One More Thought:
I didn’t realize the lesson God intended to teach me through the running of this race. Originally, I signed up as a way to serve others while bonding with my son. God accomplished both the lesson and the bonding. I want to encourage you to find fun ways of serving others AND building relationships simultaneously. Such opportunities build bridges of experience between yourself and your kids, your spouse, or the friend with whom you haven’t connected in far too long. It is through experiences like this that you build deeper community.