First time for anything is a little bit scary. Sometimes immovably scary, scared stiff.
However, life is filled with first times. The fewer firsts that we experience, the fewer things we accomplish.
What prepares a person to face firsts with a calm determination?
I remember the first time I kissed a girl.
My heart was pounding, my face was red, I was sweating and trembling. I had no idea what would happen. What would it feel like? How would the girl respond? Would it be just like kissing my mother?
I was in the third grade. I had written “Love Notes” to her many times.
I love you.
Do you love me?
Check ____ Yes or ____ No.
My friend Richard had dared me. I knew I had the ability to kiss. I knew that Muriel had checked Yes many times that year. I believed she would let me kiss her. I wasn’t sure if my heart would explode before or after the kiss. But I was pretty sure it would indeed explode.
So I kissed her on the cheek, then raced for the classroom.
This was a time in American Education when the teacher sent the kids out for recess, while she stayed inside. Simpler days!
It was winter. A couple feet of snow lay on the ground. I took off my jacket, boots, hat, and scarf in the cloakroom, then sauntered into the room looking as innocent as possible.
She looked up from her desk, handed me the bell, and told me to ring it for the end of recess.
I smiled smugly at Richard as he came in, but blushed when Muriel walked past me with a coy grin on her face.
I think I can guarantee two facts about First Times:
1. You will remember it, probably for the rest of your life;
2. You were scared.
Maybe there’s a third thing to ‘guarantee’ :
3. You were proud of the accomplishment.
With some of Life’s Firsts you may have later realized you should have been embarrassed.
But, not in the moment of victory.
This is supposed to be a “How To” – not a trip down Memory Lane.
So, here goes…
Actually the Memory Lane trip above is the First “How To.”
Dig into your Memory for the record of the successes that you have experienced. Every one of those successes is a preparation for another Victory, with another First.
Human logic says, “If you could do that, then you can do this!”
Relive the feelings, both scared and victorious feelings. Pull them up in your mind and rehearse them as you plan for the effort on a new First.
It is not a surprise to you that not all of your attempts at a First Time ended with a victory lap.
Everyone has experienced failure.
Failure is both bad and good.
While it makes us feel bad, maybe even look bad to important people, the failure experiences hold a lot of important learning opportunities.
Make the failure as important as the success.
Analyze the thinking you did, the preparations you made, the things you said and did, who you included as your team, your performance in the Doing, responses from important people during and after the event.
Learn from both the good and the bad. Resolve not to repeat the bad. See if a second chance is available and desired.
Modify yourself and your preparations and Try Again.
Success in a 3 Act Play.
Influences on My Life
Muriel moved back to Vermont.
My family moved to Florida.
New courage to muster.
New girls to write notes to.
I’m sure that I developed some courage for new things as a result of seeing my father take on life’s challenges.
Parents sometimes don’t realize the importance of allowing their children to see parental struggles, successes, and failures. But these are life lessons. Parental experiences can provide the memories for their children to pull up when facing the terror of their Firsts.
My sister taught me a lot about courage, too. Every day, every breath, was a struggle for her. But her courage and grace helped to shape me as I have faced life.
Bible Heroes have shared their courage with me as I have studied their lives, their experiences.
The Bible has shown us the results of poor choices in peoples’ lives.
The Bible also provides the standards, values, and Source of strength that we may all build into the structure of our daily lives.
Share a memory of a First that you have experienced.
Learning from other people’s lives is often easier than experiencing it ourselves.
Comments are welcomed.