Every summer growing up, we would meet my extended family at Lake Greeson for a camping trip. My greatest childhood memories come from those weeks of hiking, water skiing, exploring, and relaxing in the Ozarks.
When I was 8 or 9 years old, my uncle decided it was time for me to learn to ski slalom by dropping a ski. If you’re not familiar with this technique, you start on two water skis but you put one of your skis on a little looser than normal. Once you’re skiing comfortably, you lift the foot of the loose ski and shake it a little or stomp it on the water to try to get it to fall off. You then place the now bare foot on the back of your other ski and proceed. Congratulations, you are now a slalom skier.
Though I didn’t want to show it, I was pretty terrified to try this technique because I was certain I would face plant. At this point in my water skiing career, skiing on two skis was pretty easy for me. Why not stick with what worked? So, after I hungout comfortably behind the boat for a while, my uncle, who was driving the boat, would stick his leg over the edge of the boat and shake his foot as a symbol to me that it was time to try. I would politely shake my head, “no”. Then, through hand gestures, he made it abundantly clear that if I didn’t try he was going to give me a reason to be scared by pulling the boat closer to the rocky bank (years before I had seen my dad face plant into a rocky bank while water skiing – it wasn’t pretty).
I finally tried, eventually dropped a ski, and successfully slalomed.
Years later, as I reflected on that experience, I saw Jesus in my uncle. I saw the way Jesus encourages me not to stay in the safety of what’s easy and comfortable. I saw how Jesus knows, far better than me, what I’m capable of. And I saw Jesus’ patience with my flawed attempts as I certainly didn’t succeed on the first try.
I realize this is a story about water skiing, but my bigger question for you is – who is currently in your child’s life who is reflecting Christ? Who will they look back on and think, “Yep, there was Jesus.”? The skiing story wasn’t my only experience of Christ in my uncle. He’s an incredible man of God. But if you’d seen his leg dangling out the side of a bass boat, you’d tell the story too.
Be sure to think about it – who will show Christ to your child?