There I was literally working by butt off on the balance beam when 3 year old Tegan bounds from the top of a 5 foot high pile of mats to a cement floor. Even though I was 10 feet away I ran as fast as I could to her side expecting her to be hurt. But as blessings ( not luck) would have it, she popped right up with a huge smile on her face ready to reenact the same jump that gave me a heart attack. I grabbed her arm and reminded her firmly that her mother had moments ago specifically instructed her NOT to jump down. She was upset with me for ruining her fun, but I suspect also for not enjoying the entertainment she believed she was giving me. As she ran away to pout behind another large stack of mats all I could think about was that I wish she understood that I was only trying to keep her safe.
For the next ten minutes as I moved around the gym completing my work out Tegan would position herself so that she could peak out to see where I was, so I couldn't come scold her again, but only enough so that if I was to look she could quickly scamper back and be out of sight. Eventually she tired of her game and left to get a snack. Not 5 minutes later she returned to my practice area and gave me the low down on her skittles. They were the tropical kind, her favorite one was the blue. However she did eat them all at the same time. I was so confused. I had thought that for sure she would not have talked to me for the rest of the open gym period. Had I not scared her slightly? I had. Had I not told her something that she did not want to hear? I had. Then how could she possibly want to be my friend? All that time I had been lost in my pride thinking that such a small person could not fully comprehend the lesson I was trying to convey to her, when in reality she had just taught me one of the only principles that truly matters in life, and that is forgiveness.
I am indebted to Tegan for that simply sweet lesson she taught to me. I challenge all who read this to apply forgiveness in their lives. To forget about the things that others owe to you and just be grateful for the things that you can do to help someone else.