Others noticed their passion and a co-worker was even interested enough to ask if they would take a couple of rookies out on an overnight. The experts were thrilled to share their knowledge.
The first night was full of questions.” What’s that?” “Just frogs, nothing to worry about.” “What’s that?” “Just an owl, everything is fine.” On and on it went, questions from one tent to the other.
In the morning, the weather was so beautiful the experts wanted to show the city dwellers how to canoe. As they paddled out toward the middle of the lake, the front canoe would instruct the following canoe.
Suddenly, the wind started to pick up, and the waves rolled larger. The back seat expert had to turn around to encourage the newbies to remain perpendicular to the waves and to keep paddling. The harder the journey got the more the front canoe dwellers turned and instructed the followers.
Much to everyone’s surprise, during one of the turns to instruct, the lead canoe flipped. As the experts hit the water, they realized they had been doing too much instructing and not enough paddling. Trying to keep the new campers calm, the experts continued to reassure them all was well as they tread water. Unfortunately, the flooded canoe did not want to be righted and the swimmers were starting to get tired.
Much to the wife’s surprise the nearly drowned husband started to laugh hysterically. “Oh no, the man was going crazy” thought his wife. But, no, he was only relieved as he grew a sudden ten inches and told his wife to put her feet down. Yes, the water was only four feet deep and they could now easily flip their canoe over.
What a story, I can imagine their relief and how hard they must have laughed as they retold the story.
We are like those expert campers. As parents we can get pretty excited to pass on knowledge to our children. There are times we even chuckle over their questions; yet, we answer them with words of comfort. We look for opportunities to introduce new things into our children’s lives. As we lead them in the way they should go we say, “follow me, do it like this”.
When the going gets tough, we tend to instruct more. When they don’t seem to be catching on, we often think more words will help. With children this often starts to look more like a conflict, the child isn’t obeying like they should. As the parent starts to instruct more and more and more, they suddenly find they are frustrated and nearly drowning in exasperation.
What went wrong? Too much instructing and not enough paddling! Too many words and not enough action will upset the canoe and the child.
What do we do once we realize we are all wet? Put our feet down. Stand on God and God alone for wisdom and strength. He is our eternal sandbar. He is the rock on which we can stand.
Practically, we need to stop the flow of words, the instructing, and humbly right our canoe. We may need to apologize for our wrong example. Even explain what we did wrong. Then we need to get back into our canoe and lead strong again. The key is to learn from our mistakes and keep paddling.