When our son Benson was about 2.5 years old, he and I went to Walmart. While in the bike section he spotted a Lightning McQueen bike with training wheels that was just his size. He ran over to it and said "I want this daddy, it's awesome!" He had a point... so it some how found it's way into our cart. Mary's response at seeing it was "you bought him a what?! He's not old enough for that." I produced a helmet and said, "he'll be fine!"
While he proved to be an amazing little bike rider and had his training wheels off before he turned 4, there were several moments that just about made me doubt my confidence. The most recent was a few months after we moved back to Meridian. Benson and I went for a bike ride (on his larger version of his original Lightening McQueen racer). Everything was great, until Benson decided we should race home. He took off and as I looked a head I saw he was headed straight for impending doom. I shouted to him to stop or at least to look up. Whether he thought I was trying to make him lose, or whether he was just disregarding me entirely, I don't know. The result was that Benson found himself using a mailbox like the Angry Birds slingshot. I really had no idea that a mailbox could hurl someone backwards that far.
I picked him up and held him while his lungs resumed their function and his tear ducts stopped theirs. Of course, the father in me immediately found the life lesson and felt compelled to share it with him... in my defense, I did hug him and kiss it better first. "Next time listen to daddy and bad things like this won't happen," I said.
Several weeks later I was changing the battery in our smoke detector... the one that is 30 stories up in the air in the highest point of our vaulted ceiling. I had the biggest ladder we own out and I propped it on the wall I thought would be the best. Mary, suggested I use another position, but in my stubborn attempt to show that I knew better, I climbed the ladder right where I had placed it. As I reach out over the gaping abyss below me and awkwardly tried to reach the detector that was now behind me and to the left, I thought "shoot... she was right." Of course, I was not about to admit defeat so I tried some more. Finally, I realized that from that position, even the American Ninja Warriors couldn't reach it and I came down to avoid killing myself over a 9 volt battery.
I'm not sure why, but as I moved the ladder into the position Mary had originally suggested, I thought back on the mailbox Benson had tried to tackle. Then I thought, how many times in life do I hear advice or the whispering of God's Spirit that would save me a lot of trouble and yet I get all the way up the ladder only to realize I have leaned it against the wrong wall.