Photo credit Colette MacIver

This winter I have embarked on a new adventure – coaching a kids’ cross country ski group.  I have skied since I was in high school.  I have raced and I have coached adults.  But teaching 6–8-year-olds who are beginners to ski is new for me.

The idea behind the Trail Kids program at Theodore Wirth Park is to get kids out on the snow to try cross country skiing.  The main objective is for them to have fun.  To enjoy the experience.  And if they learn something about skiing that is an added bonus.

The first day the major accomplishment – at least in the parents’ eyes – was that everyone learned to put their own skis on and take them off!

We introduce some skills and then play lots of games.  They are learning things like balance but it feels like playing.  I discovered that it was so much fun.  The kids wanted to be there.  They loved being outside and our role was to encourage and give lots of positive feedback. 

One day this week I had a group of mostly 8 year olds with one 6 year old who is a younger sister.  She was by far the slowest in the group and could not keep up.  I was hanging with her as the other coach worked with the more advanced skiers.  I wondered if she would be discouraged and frustrated.  But instead, what she said to me was, “With your help and Coach Emily’s, I can do anything!”

Wow!  “I can do anything!”  She had not mastered skiing; she had barely even begun.  But she was looking ahead with confidence.

The story of Jesus turning water into wine (John 2:1-11) has that same element in it.  Jesus and the disciples are at a wedding in Cana when the wine runs out.  Jesus’ mother brings this to his attention and he is not excited to do anything.  But she knows he can.  She has confidence in him.  She has an inkling of what is to come.  So she says to the wine stewards, “Do whatever he says.” 

Let us pray:  O God, on this Martin Luther King Day, give us grace to set a good example to all among whom we live, to be just and true in all our dealings, to be conscientious in all that we do, gracious and generous toward all, ad to work for justice, so that the mind of Jesus Christ may be formed in us and all may know that we are his disciples; in whose name we pray.  Amen. 

(prayer adapted from ELW prayer for vocation in daily life p. 82)