Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tracing The Marks

Skaters make marks on the ice with the edges of their blades. The ones pictured above came from a skater who showed up one morning and focused solely on one particular jump.

I've watched coaches trace the marks in front of their students to point out the fault in their attempt at accomplishing some feat on the ice.  My coach has done it to me.  When I was learning the "three turn" weeks ago, I couldn't figure out why on earth they call it that.  It seemed more like one because you start out facing one direction and end up facing the opposite all on one foot.   When I asked him, he simply said "because when you do a three turn, it makes the figure 3 on the ice".  I went back out on the ice and did a three turn and sure enough, I had created the number 3.

Thus began my lessons in "figure skating".  You can tell what you've done by the marks you leave on the ice, good and bad.

What kind of marks are you leaving by the life you live?

I have watched a mother yell so loudly at her child (from the side of the rink) that even I could hear what was being said.  "We pay a lot of money for you to do this.  Every minute you waste is money wasted.  Now get out there and skate if this is what you really want to do."  My heart sank.  I could see his little spirit crumble and he barely skated in response to her reprimand.  Even I felt ashamed and I wasn't the one being rebuked.

Now it's not that I don't think children (or adults for that matter) don't need encouragement to do better and an understanding of the cost of something they want to pursue, but the little guy is only 9 years old and shaming him in front of everyone doesn't seem to be the way to go.  What kind of marks is she making on his little soul, I wonder?

I determined that I would try to encourage him whenever I can.  Living on the edge (my new theme these days) has spread further than just putting on ice skates.  I want to be a cheerleader to the other skaters, especially the young ones.  I found the courage one day to tell him he was doing great when our eyes met as we passed on our way around the rink.  I asked him if he had a competition coming up and he quickly perked up and said he just had one and he placed second!  I congratulated him and made a big deal over it.  He beamed and his eyes seemed to sparkle with pride.

We have the ability to leave marks in the souls of other people.  I want to be a person who says the kinds of things that leave good marks.  You might not think that what you are saying means much, but somewhere down the road, someone will point to the marks that were left by something you said. Make it something worth noting!