I had promised the kids a picnic on Saturday. I had to work 4 hours that morning so we got a late start. We borrowed a truck and picked up my 80 y/o Dad who accompanied us while Mom stayed home to get some rest and recuperate from her miscarriage. The kids wanted to go to an abandoned train tunnel some 25 miles from home in a remote area of the mountains. On the way up there, one of the 7 y/o twins, out of the blue said, "I know what we can do if we get a flat tire, we can use this can of FixAFlat"..... I congratulated him on being so observant and smart.
We had a great time at the tunnel and the river next to it. The kids fell in the river the requisite number of times, we got sand in our food, played with moss in the river, floated pieces of wood down the river, fell on the rocks and got scrapped, all the usual things you would want on a fun outing with the kids. On the way back, suddenly we heard the sickening whoosh, whoosh, whoosh sound of a punctured tire. We pulled over to the side of the dirt road to change the tire but as I got out, I heard another sound of air escaping...... Sure enough, we had two tires going flat. With only one spare, facing a 20+ mile hike back to civilization, one of the kids forgetting his shoes back at the river (Mom wasn't there so we weren't organized....), and knowing that virtually no one traveled this road, the initial response was panic. I said a silent prayer and then I remembered "I know what we can do if we get a flat tire, we can use this can of FixAFlat". I asked the twin to bring me the can of FixAFlat he had seen. We put it in the tire with the slower leak and then set about to change the other tire. As the kids had never experienced changing a tire, it occurred to me that this would be a great chance to teach them all the necessary steps on how to do so. I wish I had taken a picture of the four little kids huddled around the tire taking off, and putting on the lug nuts as well as their awe as they saw how the spare tire was lowered from under the pickup. 45 minutes later, we were on the road again heading home.
Fast forward to Sunday - My wife asks me to take her Primary class and the lesson is on the Holy Ghost. It hits me.... The twin was prompted by the Holy Ghost to make the comment about the FixAFlat...... I sat down with him to explain this to him. He was pleasantly surprised about being part of the larger plan and then the next revelation comes and I asked: What would have happened if Dad would have been mad (ungrateful) about the flat tire? Who would I have been mad at? His answer - Jesus. Then this lesson on Gratitude.
So what am I grateful for?
1. That the the Holy Ghost prompted my young son to make the comment about the FixAFlat that we ultimately used, preventing a pretty big disaster.
2. The teaching opportunity given me to help my sons learn about the Holy Ghost's influence in our daily lives.
3. The flat tire / Holy Ghost lesson that I was able to share with the Primary kids (got to love that look of wonder and awe on the kids faces as they are learning.......).
4. The Holy Ghost teaching me about what really happened that day.
5. The past Pathway lessons that have helped me to learn to look for the positive and not get angry at situations.
6. This Pathway lesson on Gratitude and the chance to put all of this in writing. It helped me to see the bigger picture.
7. The opportunity to teach my kids how to change a flat tire.
8. A great bonding experience with my boys and with my Dad.
9. That it is raining outside right now. We live in this very dry Sonoran desert and rain is ALWAYS welcome.
10. A wonderful wife as my companion on this wonderful life experience
11. A flat tire.....
12. The chance to go back to bed and get some sleep before work starts.........
It is true that "gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others".