I went horseback riding today with the ladies in my book club.
After I got the hang of what I was doing, I had an hour to sit on my horse, watch the world go by, and think.
Here’s what came to mind as I sat atop my horsey, Trigger.
“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
There were 2 girls in our group today who had never ridden a horse .
And most of the rest of us hadn’t ridden since we were kids.
It was a little bit scary.
As we lined up to get on our horses, there were nervous giggles, talk of upset tummies, of courage draining by the minute, and a couple, “why did I say I’d do this ?”
Once we started off, I alternated between, i love this! and , this is going to be the longest hour of my life!
I wasn’t the only one feeling that way.
But after a while, it was really, really fun.
For all of us.
Trying new things is so important.
It’s important for me as a person.
Amongst other things, it makes me more interesting, and helps me grow.
But right now, I think it is most important for me as a mother.
A while back, when I was trying to find the kind of exercise that I enjoyed doing, I took some aerobics classes.
My performance was laughable.
And what I mean is, the instructor laughed at me because I was so bad.
I just could not get it.
It was really hard for me.
And sometimes frustrating, and sometimes embarrassing.
At the same time, I was trying to teach my son to read.
He was struggling.
There were times when I wanted to throw the books across the room and give up.
I wanted him to just get it, because it surely could’t be this hard.
Sometimes I wondered if he was really trying.
One night in aerobics class, as I went the wrong way, again, I suddenly understood how my son felt.
And I had so much compassion for him it brought tears to my eyes.
He was trying.
But it was hard.
And that was OK.
It was going to take a while.
And that was OK too.
We expect a lot from our kids:
Stand in front of that hard ball, that’s coming at you really fast and hit it with this little stick.
Don’t be scared!
And if it hits you, don’t cry!
Go into that group where you don’t know a soul, and talk to people and make friends, and I’ll pick you up in an hour.
Don’t be clingy!
Sound out these letters into words, and read them quickly, out loud, and in front of people.
And you better do it before you are 6.
Don’t mess up!
And don’t get frustrated!
Of course it’s imperative for us to encourage our kids to try new things, to meet new people , and to learn new skills.
But we also need to show them kindness and gentleness during the process.
We need to give them grace when it’s hard.
We need to hug them and say, “it’s OK to be scared.”
And we need to know where they are coming from.
Like Atticus Finch said, “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
So go for it.
Be the new kid.
Be a beginner.
Be not good at something.
It will help you love them better.
And after a little while, you might even start having fun.
(or you might stop doing aerobics forever and do boot camp instead. and that’s ok)
All the best,