Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Which way is home?

Over a recent weekend, I was taking a training tour of the back roads of Bradley County. I had beautiful weather, I felt great, and my training times were excellent. I have a race coming up in September which includes a 56 mile bike, so I decided it was important to begin logging some serious mileage on the bike. My normal ride to Red Clay State Park (which is a hidden GEM in our community, if you’ve never been, you must go visit) only takes me a total roundtrip of about 23 miles and I wanted to go further on this ride so I just went right on by the park and continued on into Whitfield County (this was my first mistake).

As I enjoyed the gentle rolling hills of North Georgia and SE Tennessee, I began to realize that nothing looked familiar. A few miles later came a sign welcoming me to Hamilton County. It was at this point that I realized I wasn’t 100% sure where I was (this is man-code for “I was lost”). I passed a number of churches with unfamiliar names like Antioch Baptist and Apison Seventh-Day Adventist. I even passed a few country stores, but I never once stopped for directions. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me that I should.

This created in me a flashback to my youth. I must have been 11 or 12 and I was in the car with my dad. We were driving around Cincinnati, clearly lost, when I asked, “Dad, why don’t we stop and ask for directions?” His answer was classic, “If we just keep going this way we’ll eventually run into something I recognize.” I think it was the Indiana State Line that convinced him we’d gone too far. However, it is now clear to me that this gene has been passed down to me.

Eventually I arrived at an old gas station called “County Line Store”. Unclear about which county line I was straddling, I finally decided it was time to ask for directions. I must have been quite the sight, wandering into this old country store in my bike gear (not the most flattering casual wear) and asking, “Where am I?” The kind woman did not pass judgment and helped me on my way home. After 37 miles (and still many to go), I had to call my wife for a “rescue” pick-up, the first time in my many years of riding Bradley County back-roads.

This latest adventure (some might call it a misadventure) made me think about all the little things we pass down to our children unintentionally. Is it refusing to ask for directions, impatience, forgetting to put the toilet seat down (apparently another one I have inherited); or will we leave positive habits for our children to duplicate like telling your family “I love you,” on a daily basis, smiling, being polite, or being generous. It is important that we are intentional and conscious of what we role model for our children. Unfortunately for my son, he is doomed to wander around old country roads until he is so lost he must be rescued.

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