Lessons from the Class of 2010

Tuesday June 1, 2010
If you read my Friday post, you know I was away last week, helping chaperone my son’s senior trip. I teach at the high school he attends, so I watched many of these kids grow up alongside him and had most of them in my classroom.

It was a great time! We took a charter bus and ended up at LongView Ranch in Moshein, Tennessee. It’s a beautiful place – bunkhouses, horses, hills. Just what these Florida kids needed.

There are many stories to tell, but today’s lesson comes from our hike up the mountain. It applies to not just the Class of 2010, but to the moms among us, too.

We started up the mountain as one big group. There were walkie-talkies interspersed between the two male chaperones and our guide. There was so much to see on the mountain, but it seemed to me like we were climbing it as if it were a race!

(Of course we were – there were 18 year old boys in the lead!)

I was actually glad when another chaperone informed me we had a straggler who was having a little trouble getting up the mountain and they wanted a woman to stay back a bit. I sat and looked around, letting the kids pass me. There was a beautiful little waterfall to my right. Once everyone had gone on, I noticed the tinkling sound the water made. I even spotted tiny little white flowers at the base of a tree that I would never have seen while planting one foot in front of the other. (Remember the lesson in my Friday post?)

Soon our winded young lady came up the path with one of the male chaperones, who left her with me and went on ahead. Before long, another of our men teachers showed up with an encouraging smile. He had a walkie-talkie and the goal was to keep one at the beginning and one at the end of the group.

The three of us sat and rested for a moment, then got up to go on. We stopped periodically and that’s when I really enjoyed the mountain. I told our student: “I figure you hike up the mountain either for the climb or for the mountain. I like to climb it for the mountain.” Taking time to drink in the beauty of God’s creation was great. It wasn’t about the climbing for me – or about how fast you could get it done!

Our student lightened up considerably (and breathed easily) as we talked, rested, and hiked at a leisurely pace. Before we’d cross rocks in a stream, the male teacher would stand and pick out his path. Then he’d go first and we’d watch him; then we would follow, with me bringing up the rear.

Hence today’s lesson from the trip:

Learn from the stumbles and the victories.

Once he gave the rocks a try, we decided which was the right path. Should be imitate his route or seek another? We learned from watching him wobble or emerge strong and steady.

We learned from someone else’s experience, vowing not to make the same missteps. If he emerged dry and confident, we felt sure of ourselves as we followed his path.

The lesson played out a bit differently on the way down. Our straggler hung back with us again as we went down the mountain, but her confidence had grown immensely. Now a second straggler appeared, one who fought her way up but found the descent frightening. Our first straggler now became a leader, an encourager. She even led the way back down, calling encouraging words over her shoulder to the one who struggled. She had learned from her own victories and stumbles, and now stood ready to help another.

So true in all of life. Instead of letting our stumbles get us down, we need to make them useful! How can a hard time you’ve had help someone else?

Is there a mom struggling with something you know well? Wait for her. Share some encouraging words. Give support.

We need each other along the mom path up the mountain. Once you’ve reached a leveling off place and caught your breath, murmur a word of thanks for those stumbles. They’re lessons in disguise and, ultimately, they’ll make your and others’ paths easier.

Learn from the stumbles and the victories. (Thanks, kids -- you're always teaching me!)

How have you learned? Was there one ahead on the path, calling encouragement to you?


Jean Wise said...

Great story. love how the first straggler helped the second one. good lessons for all of us!

Anonymous said...

I love that, especially the first straggler encouraging the second. (And I admire you for making such a climb! That's beyond me!)

I did not have one particular mentor, but the Lord sent various people along the way with just the right word at just the right time.

Missionary wife Rosalind Goforth used a similar analogy in her book Climbing. She had written her husband's biography and then was asked to share some things from her own perspective, the result of which was this book. I quoted a poem from it here about calling back encouragement in faith to those behind us:

Karen said...

Oh, yes, my writing buddies help this straggler all the time. :)

Jennifer Fink said...

I love this post so much that I included it in my weekly round-up:


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