Life is about balance. Balancing work, family, home, parents, kids (and on the list goes) are never easy. When I think of balancing all the things in my life, I think of my father and a lesson he taught me and others about balance.
Balancing Act & Life Lesson
It was the usual Saturday with all the household chores, grocery shopping, lawn work, etc. My Dad loved to go shopping, and this Saturday was no different. When we pulled up to a bike shop, I remember the puzzled look on my Mom’s face. I could almost read her thoughts “but we already have good bikes for everyone”. However, into the bike store we went to check out the latest bike stuff. My Dad headed to the unicycles. After a lengthy conversation with the owner of the store, he walked out with a unicycle. My brothers were jazzed. Me?… not so much. I was too absorbed in other things to be that interested in a unicycle. We made a few more stops and then headed home.
The remainder of the day was devoted to finishing all our chores. The new unicycle remained in the entryway.
After everyone had finished with their chores, Dad took the unicycle outside to the drive way. He must have worked on figuring out how to ride the new unicycle for what seemed like hours. There was much falling, wobbling and all manner of contortions, but he mastered it and was very pleased with himself. Even though it was an adult unicycle, my brothers begged for an opportunity to try it out. It was really fun watching all the false starts, falls and grumbly that went into their efforts. With my Dad’s coaching, eventually even they were able to figure it out. To say my Dad and my brothers were smooth riders would have been a serious understatement. The puzzle was what was my father’s interest in unicycles. It all seemed so odd to me.
Dad was a math teacher that loved the fact that he could make a difference in a child’s life. He believed it was important to teach the whole child, providing examples and reasons why math was important. Dad was always seeking ways to show his students how math applied in an everyday life, wherever possible in tangible and visible ways.
A week or so had passed. Dad and my bothers had a great time riding the, now three, unicycles in our driveway. They actually become quite good at riding them.
Dad decided to take his unicycle to the school where he taught, my same school. I wasn’t quite sure what Dad was doing with the unicycle, but I had more pressing things on my mind as a high school senior to worry about my Dad’s unicycle interest.
Some time during the day, between classes, one of my schoolmates mentioned “how I had the coolest dad “. I paid little attention to the remark because Dad was very well liked. As the day wore on there was more and more buzz about my Dad.
At the end of the day, I started making my way to Dad’s classroom for our ride home. When I rounded the corner in the hall, there was a crowd. When I pressed through the crowd, I saw my Dad on his unicycle having fun with his last period students. They were clapping and cheering him on. My Dad’s students then were given a chance to try riding the unicycle. With Dad’s coaching, a surprisingly large number of them were able to ride it. I broke out in a huge smile and thought; “That’s my Dad”.
It turned out that Dad was using the unicycle to demonstrate the math formula for balance. He was showing his students how his balancing act on the unicycle related. Dad was using the unicycle to make his math lesson a much more enjoyable learning experience for his students. He had succeeded. It was a lesson in how hard it is to maintain balance in nature and in life, and, with practice it can be accomplished, and be fun at the same time.
My Dad had taught me much in my life. Keeping a balanced life was one of his many lessons. Much like his balancing act on the unicycle, it takes work, practice and persistence. But like the math formula, once you figure it out it’s so much easier to maintain and it makes life all that much more fun.
What have you learned about life’s balancing act? I would love to hear your story.
Life’s journey continues…