Do It Again, Daddy!

“Do it again, Daddy, do it again” All of us have seen children excited about what they have learned, especially when they have conquered a fear. Many of us have been around small children and have taught little ones how to turn fear of the unknown into confidence, through trusting in God.

Below is a Native American story as  told to me by my friend, and fellow flute player, Barry Flory.

In the Native American culture, when a child was four or five, the father would take the child for a walk to a place in the woods that the child had not seen and stop before a tree. The father had this specific tree in mind, as he had done this before with the older ones. He had a plan for this child, using this very tree.

When they arrived at the tree, he would lovingly and securely scoop up the child and begin to climb the tree, instructing the child to hold on, as he himself would climb back down the tree, leaving the child alone on the branch.

Standing safely and solidly on the ground, looking up, the father sees just what he expects to see – his child hanging on tightly with a frightened, uncertain, and confused look on his face. Fear of the unexpected and the unknown was taking hold in the mind of the little child. Suddenly, all was not as it should be, and the child didn’t understand what was happening and why his father would let go of him.

“Daddy, get me down,” cried the child. “No,” explained the father in a kind, but firm voice. “I put you there and gave you only one instruction – to hold on tight. Trust in me and you will be fine right where you are.”

“But Daddy, I’m scared.”  “Do you not trust me to keep you safe?” asks the father firmly. “I’m still scared and I don’t understand why you put me here and left me!” cried the child. “Why don’t you like it up there?” the father asks. “Because I’m afraid I will fall!”  “Didn’t I tell you to hold on tight? Don’t you trust me? Don’t you trust yourself to hold on?”  “Well, I’m going to get tired and I will fall, Daddy.” the child cries frantically.

“Do not fear falling from where I put you, for I am here and I will catch you.” said his father. “No Daddy, I can’t. If I fall, I will get hurt.” Again, the father instructs the child, “You must decide to either stay where I put you and work hard to hang on, or you must fall and have faith in me and believe me when I say that I will catch you.”

“Daddy, I can’t let go. I will fall and I am scared.”  “I’m right here and I will catch you if you fall. I promise and I will not break my promise to you, for I am a good father.” A quiet time passes; a time that seems long to the father, but even longer for the child in the tree, as they contemplate their choices.

As would be expected, the child’s mind tries to find another option. “Daddy, if I can’t let go, and I can’t fall, won’t you come up and get me?” reasons the child. “You must decide from the two choices I gave you, and I will be right here, below you, should you fall.”

Finally, exhausted, the child let go and fell from the tree with a little scream. Of course, the father did what he said he would do and caught the child, pulling him into his arms and holding him close to his heart, giving his brave child comfort. After a while, the child was calm and looked up into his father’s eyes, and said triumphantly, “That made my tummy jump, I was so afraid!”

No further words were shared for a time, as they began their trip home, with the child still in the father’s arms. They hadn’t gone far from the tree when the child spoke, “Daddy?”  “What child?” “ I was scared, but you told me to hang on, and as I got tired, you told me you were right there to catch me so that I would not get hurt if f I fell! I was so scared to fall, and I knew that I would fall. And when I did, it made my tummy jump, and kind of tickled.”  “Yes child, we must all learn to trust. Today, you learned that when you trust in your father, as I trusted in my father, that he will protect you! And, we must all trust in our Creator, our Heavenly Father, who watches over each of us. Someday, child, you will fall again, and someday, Your Heavenly Father will be there to catch you!”

The child spoke again. “Daddy, we are still close to the tree, can we go back and do it again? It was kind of fun! Can we do it again, Daddy?”

Watching an uncertain, scared child work through a situation like this is usually painful for a parent. It is like when a child is learning to ride a bike, part of us wants to keep a hold of the bike to prevent them from falling. Yet, we know we must let go, risking skinned knees and tears,  as we ask them to trust us and be courageous. They grow and gain confidence as they are launched into pedaling and balancing alone.

Following His instructions is not easy. Trusting in Him completely is not easy. Falling is inevitable. However, as He promises to all of us who receive Him, the warm, funny, wonderful feeling that we can find inside ourselves by so doing is incredibly gratifying. So, can we “do it again?” We can if we have faith and courage through him. Trusting in Him takes away our fears!

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. 

~Psalm 62:8