When I was young, I was a gymnast. I spent many hours learning how to twist and rotate on the trampoline because it was the first step in preparation for eventually throwing complicated tumbling tricks on the floor. In our team gym, there were always experienced “spotters” standing on the sides of the trampoline with their arms up, anticipating possible falls or rebound bounces. I had confidence to throw new tricks on the trampoline because I trusted these “spotters.”
I also knew the potential dangers of trampolines – I witnessed two accidents, resulting in paralysis and one death. All these incidents happened as a result of young people goofing around on the trampoline, either with no spotters or with unqualified spotters who instinctively moved back when these out-of-control, flying bodies came towards them.
When our children were young, backyard trampolines starting dotting our neighbourhood and I was naturally concerned. I remember the lunch hour conversation that my daughter and I had when she ran home from school one day and begged me to let her go play on her friend’s (let’s call her Susan) new, backyard trampoline. With great hesitation, I agreed to go over to Susan’s house after school and check out the trampoline.
This is what I saw when I went to her friend’s house. The trampoline was in a backyard that had no fences so all the neighbourhood children had potential access to the trampoline. Susan’s two older brothers were on the trampoline at the same time and one of them was trying to hit that perfectly timed bounce that would send the other one flying off the trampoline bed. There were no spotters to be seen and last but certainly not least, the boys had set up a hose in such a way that the trampoline bed was being continually sprayed with water.
Everything was wrong about this situation – yet it was happening.
It was an awkward moment for me. I told my daughter that she couldn’t play on that trampoline and I also took her friend’s mom to the side and politely cautioned her about the potential dangers of the situation. Susan’s mom listened respectfully but the trampoline stayed.
“Every party needs a pooper” and that’s why I was never invited to that backyard again. My daughter wasn’t too happy with me either as we walked home in complete silence but that day, I stood my ground. The Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Paediatrics continually advise against the use of recreational trampolines. Studies show that safety measures taken to reduce injuries don’t work – enclosed netting and padding are not enough to significantly reduce the number of people who are getting hurt and children under five years old are at the greatest risk for injury…but backyard trampoline sales continue to increase.
I knew back then, that it would only be a matter of time before somebody fell.
It’s the same in life. “He who chooses the beginning of the road chooses the place it leads to.” Harry Emerson Fosdick
This story came to mind this morning because I watched a Christian friend knowingly and continually choose to make decisions that were morally wrong and relationally disastrous. She knew it was wrong and she was wisely counselled to stay away but she chose to blatantly sin. Why do we do this? Why do we willfully walk into sin? The “warning lights” shine bright, our consciences tell us to back away and our loved ones counsel us to seriously consider the consequences, yet we calculatedly move towards doing wrong and eventually fall. When foolishness reigns, feelings aren’t too far behind.
John Piper says, that, ” Sin gets its power by persuading me to believe that I will be happier if I follow it. The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier.”
Happiness just isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be in this world.
MAKE A MOMENT TO MUSE
- When’s the last time you did something that you knew was foolishness?
- What is usually the result of foolishness?
- What does the Bible say about foolishness?
speak truth: But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. James 1.14 ESV