At the end of August, I did something I haven’t done in 13 years…I competed in a rope skipping tournament. The funny thing about it was that I had no intention of competing as close as 2 days before it started. Plus, I was an American in Australia so I didn’t really qualify to be in the tournament as it was the Australian Nationals. The day before the tournament started I was asked by the President of Skipping Australia if I would be willing to help a team out who had just got in and had one kid with a stress fracture and another with severe shin splints. I was told they only needed help in one event so I agreed (especially since I had never won an Australian medal and this would probably be my only chance). There was also a Belgian in town for the tournament and he agreed to help out for one event as well. Oddly enough, he was the same age I am and named Peter as well (though he spelled it Pieter). Side note: his job title is a little more impressive than mine as he is a Nuclear Physicist who also jumps rope (think Sheldon from Big Bang Theory with better people skills and a champion rope jumper).
I would love to say that it was no sweat, but learning a Nationals level Double Dutch routine (not to mention perfecting it) in half a day in humid, 32-34 degree (Celsius) weather does require a fair amount of sweat. In fact, I went through 5 shirts during the tournament. I might as well interject that within 2 hours I had been harangued into 5 events and my half day of learning routines was all that I had for every event…challenging to say the least. I thought it funny that Pieter and I had to constantly push the kids to work on the routines over and over again even though we were close to twice their age. End result…We won 2 bronze medals and sat within the top 5 for all events. I didn’t feel too bad about the placing as the team that beat us set a world record for one event and one of the team members had won the last 2 World Championships…I had known my team for a grand total of 60 hours by the end of the tournament.
One other side note to throw in…Four days before the tournament, I threw my back out while stretching after a show and had probably the most painful situation I have ever gone through in my life. 3 days later I was prepping like mad for a tournament that I had never planned on competing in. The final night of the tournament I sat down to talk with a couple of parents from the team and one dad asked me what I was getting out of doing all this. I looked at him and simply said, “Nothing”. Another parent looked at me and asked why on earth I would work as hard as I was for a couple kids I had just met and didn’t plan on getting anything out of. I told her that I had agreed to help and I either do something or I don’t, there’s no half-hearted effort, no pretending to help, I did everything I could to help them do their best. The dad looked at me again and asked why I had such a good work ethic. Now that was a good question.
We discussed a number of things while sitting there that night, but I continued to mull that question over and over the next day. It used to be that a good work ethic was a necessity to survive in this world. If you don’t work, you don’t eat, simple as that. However, things have changed. Today it seems that people have gotten used to the idea that laziness is ok. If you don’t work…government will pay the bills until you decide to. If you’re hungry, go to a shelter or wait…government will give you food! There’s a mentality that has creeped into our culture that obviates the need for individual responsibility. There is now a universal ‘momma’ that will provide for all my needs. The sad part is, kids are growing up seeing this and don’t ever see a need to work hard. As long as you do enough to get by, that’s all that matters. So if society will no longer teach how to work hard, where are they going to learn it? From the bible.
We have a responsibility as ministers to teach the whole bible. Not just the parts that are nice and fall into the warm fuzzies section. We need to teach kids that God values someone that is responsible, that he expects us to have a good work ethic. You can read numerous parables on the subject and in everyone Jesus teaches us that God expects us to work hard, to apply our skills and talents and be an example to those around us. Matt. 25:14-30 for example gives us the parable of the servants handling of the talents. If you haven’t read it in a while, go through it and notice the stress that is placed on working hard and taking care of what’s been given to them. Outside of the home, the church may well be the last place that people are going to learn the importance of working hard, let’s not fail them by skipping lessons on this very important topic.