We were walking in this afternoon and I held the door for an older gentleman who was leaving. He spoke to me, saying, "Have a good day, Coach." It caught me off guard because nobody outside of relatives knows me here in the middle of Wichita, Kansas. Then, I remembered that it's monogrammed on the chest of the WCS jacket I was wearing and I got my bearings back. But, it was the last time for several hours that I felt like a coach. You see, I was entering a gun range with my nephew, Nate, and my niece, Karis. Nate has taken up shooting, purchasing a pistol back in the fall, and going through training. At Thanksgiving, he told me all about how he got interested in his new hobby. I told him I'd like to go with him sometime and sometime turned out to be today. It was Nate's treat and I found out, an expensive one. After putting on goggles and ear protectors, we entered the shooting area. I discovered how jumpy I was initially due to the boom boom boom of the shots and and the reverberations. It took some time to acclimate to the environment but after an hour squeezing the trigger, I barely noticed any more.
As I had only fired a gun a couple of times and that outdoors at a family reunion, I had almost no experience with a firearm. Nate took me through the process step by step, from stance to aim to hand/fingers/thumb position to working the safety to pulling the trigger. I wasn't very good but I did improve as we pulled the targets in for inspection. Nate was good at giving advice in increments. Do this. Change that slightly. Good job that round. While Nate was reloading for me, Karis and I talked about how learning to shoot a gun was sort of like learning how to shoot a free throw; stance, hand position, routine, picking up a target. The difference is that I can still shoot 80% from the free throw line and can only dream of hitting the target 80% of the time. When we finished, Nate was very complimentary of my rookie efforts and he also told me he thought Karis was a natural. I know nothing about shooting but he hit the nail on the head. Karis was very accurate even though she only has had a couple of outings at the range. Maybe some shooters are born and not trained!
You know, I held Nathan the day he was born, only hours after his birth. And now, only hours ago, he was my teacher. Funny how the wheels of time spin, isn't it? Part of humility is knowing what you don't know. That's easier in some arenas than others. But it's also easier to take instruction from someone near your own age than someone you babysat as an infant. In Luke 6:40, Jesus makes this statement:
The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
Maybe that applies to nephews and uncles, too. (And maybe brothers and sisters as Nate is passing on what he knows to Karis.) We teach what we know to enrich others and there is fulfillment in both sides of the equation. Sometimes, we even shoot a bulls eye. (Well, it probably was just a lucky shot on my end!)
Applicable quote of the day:
“Experience teaches only the teachable.”
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