I’m going to let you into a little secret. My oldest Son turns 9 next week and unknown to him, we have got him a mountain bike.
Two years ago we both travelled into the mountains, took a gondola to the top and rode the bike track, with all its ups and downs and twists and turns, all the way down to the bottom again.
We repeated the process a few times and although he was both nervous and cautious to begin with, he loved it. He grew in confidence and got better at it each time.
As for me, well I flew over my handle bars before I had even started but that’s another story for another time.
The Story for this time however is about a little guy called ´Faithful Steward` from the well known Steward Family of Eden Alley.
Just like my Son, Faithful also had a birthday. He Received four gifts, each one getting bigger in size and of course as with any child, Faithful opened the biggest gift first.
Despite Faithful’s young age, His Father ´Jireh`, had a very expensive, high quality, custom made Mountain Bike given to him as a gift.
The Bike had everything from high powered front and back lights, indicators, warning lights, a compass on the handlebars and a built in, state of the art recording system that tracked everything.
There was a ´seat release` mechanism that could be activated in the event of a high speed crash situation. This would shoot him up into the air in an attempt to avoid what could well be an oncoming Death.
Feeling a little shaken, Little Faithful began to set his eyes upon the second biggest present to be opened. He took out the Matching Backpack which had his first name Faithful sown onto it by his Mother.
His Father informed him that although he could try to escape death in the event of a crash by using the seat release mechanism, he could still die upon his return to the ground.
For this reason, His Father had an easy to open parachute sown into the backpack.
He encouraged young Faithful to get into the habit of wearing the backpack when riding his new Bike and advised him of the importance of spending time to learn the instructions on how to best use and apply the parachute.
He made it clear that without this, the backpack would serve no real purpose other than to hold the things he wanted it to hold.
Inside the Backpack was all the protective gear that he needed, including the helmet itself, and once again his father spoke of the importance of wearing it at all times when riding.
Intrigued and yet troubled given the effort required, he quickly moved on to the third present. He opened it up to find lots of cool clothing that only professional mountain bikers would wear.
What made it even better was that his family name was printed in big, bold and cool coloured letters on the back of the t-shirt, jumper and jacket. S T E W A R D.
This made the wearing of his new backpack seem even more unattractive as this would only be covered up.
After putting on his new Biker clothes on, Faithful finally moved over to the fourth, final and smallest present of them all. Small, simple and stupid looking Stabilisers.
He Held them, looked at them, turned the wheels of them, and put them down again beside his backpack, before going to the kitchen to drink his morning milk.
Upon finishing his daily dose of Milk, he went back to his Bike. He sat on it and asked his Father to take a picture so that he could show all his friends.
Little Faithful became very excited and ambitious, dreaming about all the endless possibilities that his new bike offered.
Little Faithful had a problem however. He had never ridden a Mountain bike before. In fact, truth be told, he had never ridden a bike at all.
As much as he would dream about all the things he wanted to do and all the places he wanted to go to with his new bike, he knew that he had to start with… stabilisers.
This became very obvious to him, given the fact that he had tried on a few occasions to ride without them only to end up hurting himself, receiving a few cuts and bruises in the process,
He practised and practised until the stabilisers were no longer needed. Over time he got better and became very confident, but it was a false sense of confidence because Eden alley was situated down in the flat lands.
His Father knew that his Bike was built for the rougher terrain in the mountains and so he began to take Faithful away to the dirt tracks up in the mountains.
It was a world away from the nice smooth and well maintained ground of Eden Alley that Faithful was comfortable with and had built his confidence upon.
Needless to say, many mistakes where made, many injuries received, and many opportunities missed by Faithful up on the mountains. Once again…
He had also clocked up a lot of sleeping hours over the years during the many long journeys back home to Eden Alley.
Over time though, skin was toughened, muscles grew, and skill and strategy were nurtured to the point that little Faithful eventually grew accustomed to riding up the mountain as well as down it.
As nice as it was to be up at the top of the mountain where the best views could be seen, Faithful came to realise that the important lesson lay more in understanding the tracks to get both around it, up it and down it regardless of which side he was on.
Mountains became something to use to his own advantage. A kind of building block to build himself with.
He also came to realise that his ultimate confidence in riding rested not in his talent or tricks, his skill or strategy. In fact it wasn’t even about what type of Bike he owned or how many gears it had, although all those things certainly helped him.
He understood that his ultimate confidence lay in the backpack and parachute within, the same one that his father gave him back in the days when he was just a child.
He had outgrown the cool clothes that he once loved, but the backpack was adjustable.
He knew that he had only lived up to his name because he wore it. With that in mind, all things became possible and in crossing the finish line, little Faithful was rewarded.
Such is Life. Onwards and Upwards, Downwards and around, but what ever you do… keep going Forwards. At the very least, you will keep your balance.