When I was a gymnast I learned one important lesson early on. How to fall. When you first try to do a new skill you fall many many times before successfully completing the skill. You have to know how to fall safely as to not prevent injury and you have to know how to get back up and try again. For me in particular I was a gymnast that tended to take awhile to learn a new skill but once I got it. I really got it. I would be able to not only perform the skill but with excellent execution. But similarly I learned that no matter how long I had been performing the skill there may come a day where I would fall again. Sometimes these unexpected falls would be the most painful because they were out of the blue and on something you felt confident doing.
Life is very much the same. Sometimes when trying something new we fall many many times before we finally get it right. But we need to make sure that we fall safely so that we can pick ourselves back up. We have to know how to keep going. In gymnastics we used training equipment, mats and spotting. But what do we use in real life? To me one of the essential roles of the family and church is to be these safety mats and spotters. When the family and church fails to do its job people fall but instead of being able to pick themselves back up they get injured. Sometimes badly. Some people may never be the same again. This is not a reflection of the person that fell, no it’s a reflection of the family and church.
So what is the solution? Creating healthy family’s is one essential part. The other part is creating Christian communities that know how to “spot” people, ie provide healthy accountability, mentorship and guidance. Particularly to young people. When I reflect over my life falls most all of them where common falls that most young people experience. A couple were very bad, worse then some people but most where typical. So why did I get so injured that I was unable to get back up? Was it a reflection of my weakness and inadequacy as a person? No, actually on the contrary it was a reflection of unhealthy family and Christian community. Every person falls, absolutely every person. I was the sad person who had so many unhealthy falls in unhealthy environments that I was broken. I pray God would change this part of our world. I pray that healthy Christian community and family will provide safe environments for young people to try and fall and try again.