I just thought a lot about learning today as I babysat one of my best friend's little girls. The 5 year old learned to ride her bike with training wheels. We were going down a pretty steep hill, me walking and holding the 2 year old and her riding her bike. Well, when she could see how steep the hill was, she got off her bike and walked. I told her to get on and I would help her down the hill. Well, she was quite apprehensive and even started to cry. But she trusts me because I teach swimming to her in the summers and I think she knew I wouldn't let anything happen to her like I don't in the pool. I reminded her that I haven't ever let anything bad happen to her and that I wouldn't let go. She proceeded down the hill and I taught her how to use the breaks on her bike by pushing back on the pedals. At firs she didn't trust me. She had no idea what I was talking about and pushed down on the pedals. Then she got the hang of what "push back" meant and started to let herself go a little bit (me holding onto the bike and walking in front of her the whole time) and then saying, "push back" out loud to remind herself what to do. Every now and again, I would let her go just a little bit faster and a little bit farther than she had the time before and it brings tears to my eyes, because I think that, that is how Heavenly Father does it with us. He knows we have the keys we need to be successful, we have the brakes, the pedals and the safety net, but we don't always know how to use them. He also just pushes us a little bit at a time, letting go and letting us ride along a little bit farther, a little bit faster than we did before, and just when we get scared He sometimes reminds us verbally, "Push back" and sometimes He literally stops our bike from getting out of control. Sometimes He just lets us figure it out. And sometimes, before He even gets a chance to interject, we do what she did and immediately drag our feet on the ground, instead of doing any of the effective things that would be so much easier to do, like just "push back" on the pedals and thus engage the breaks! But then when she got it. When she remembered, with tears still wet on her cheeks, there was a huge smile and she was so proud of herself for remembering how to take control of the situation and "push back" on those pedals. I was so proud of her. Just going down one hill, she was off on her own. She learned so much. She learned how to brake. Now she knows how to propel forward and to brake and slow down. She has progressed so much. The next step is taking off those training wheels. Well, as she was peddling along on the more flat ground, she was so proud of herself. She just kept saying, "push back" and then would peddle and push back and was riding her bike. I thought, "Wow, what a learning process for something so small as riding a bike. Was I like that when I first learned to ride a bike?" And then I thought, maybe this is why we're supposed to be parents, so we can see that things were hard when we were kids but that they got better, in fact, half the time, we don't even remember that it was hard. And maybe as parents we're supposed to have hope as bigger things come up in our lives, and we learn from little kids who think the world is going to end because they scraped their knee or have to ride down a "giant" hill, but to us it is such a small thing. Well, we as adults have things that bring us down, that are big "giant" things that get right in front of our face and block our vision and tell us that we are in for a world of hurt if this or that doesn't work out and that we are really at a loss. But things are just so momentary in this life. We don't really have to worry as much as we do, but it just seems like such a big thing.
We often ask, "Oh Lord where is Thy pavilion?" and then it seems like forever before we learn to ride that bike. Then we look back and say, "That wasn't as hard as I thought it was." Even though in the process, in the growth process, it was all we could do to just have enough faith to stay on the bike and not get off and walk. I'm here to learn and everyday, I'm so grateful for a Father in Heaven who says, "Becca, get on the bike. I know it looks scary, like a big steep hill, but I promise, I'll guide you down it and I won't let go (maybe just enough to let you grow a bit) but trust me. Keep your feet on the pedals. "Push back" when I tell you to and I'll keep you safe. When you react and take your feet off the pedals and drags them on the ground, which is much less effective than actually just "pushing back" then, I'll give you a chance to reposition those feet and try again." We have a God who loves us and who is always pushing us to be better and do better and my favorite part about Him is that He is there to push us along and loves us enough to get us where we need to go. No matter what. He gets us back on the bike and when we're ready, He is still ready, there to receive our offering and hold us steady while he pushes us along! I love the Lord. I love my Father in Heaven and I love little children; their trust and their faith to get on the bike, because they know that they can trust us and we would never let anything happen to them. Nor would our Father in Heaven. I learned again tonight, that He is just like us. We want to help our kids, nieces, nephews, kids of friends and everyone we can. He does the same. He is our Father and would never guide us somewhere that wasn't a good place for us to go or a good thing for us to do. It's a great thing to remember to be like a child. I'm, little by little getting what they said, when they said, that we need to be like a child.