After 6 weeks of training, 35 children and youth together with 5 volunteer buddy skaters collectively bladed more than 350km around Bishan Park last Sunday morning. This is the second year we are a part of Charity Bike ‘n’ Blade, a volunteer driven fund-raising effort where funds collected are equally shared with the Salvation Army’s Peacehaven Nursing Home. In 3 weeks, some 24 cyclists will be covering more than 300km in Malaysia and our young people’s effort was a gesture of solidarity.
For the past 7 weeks, some parents accompanied their children for training and they were delighted by the entire experience. Madam Yati who had 2 children participating commented, “It makes me so happy to see my children and my husband having fun. At first, I kept worrying about my children hurting themselves, but I stopped when I saw how well the volunteers took care of them.” Like the parents, we are grateful for the volunteers from JP Morgan who have been such an encouraging presence throughout.
Learning to skate was a totally new experience for almost all our young people and so on Sunday, it was more grit than competence than got them through the distance. However, as I wobbled along the route, I saw a different type of competence; the competence to care. Several moved as a group, waited for each other and encouraged those who struggled. Perhaps, they had learned it from the volunteer skate buddies who were great role models, but I believe this considerate behavior was what our young people and their families brought to the park. I say this because when we are in the neighbourhoods, older children entrusted with the care of their young siblings is a common sight.
As an organization that works at enhancing people’s agency to address their challenges, we have a tendency to share best practices and problem-solving methods. There is certainly a time and place for clear directive instructions and processes but helping people to build on what they are already doing may be more helpful than insisting they learn something new. I am grateful for this blading experience as it has reminded us that we are always more than what we are not good at.
Enjoy your weekend.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson