All three of my boys are in very different places when it comes to recreational wheels.

Levi has the mobility (and fluid excretion ability) of a large slug. Adorable, yes. But still very slugesque.


(I seriously just used the word slugesque in a post).

On the other extreme, Luik is riding his bike full-out, having ditched his training wheels last fall when he was four.


Judah is the one that fascinates me right now. He dons his bike helmet like a pro, rolls his Red Flyer trike out of the barn, and looks down the road…

And starts running along side it as fast as he can.


They way I figure it, he thinks he can run faster pushing his trike than he can riding and pushing the pedals. Plus, it’s way harder using those pedals on the road than it is in the loop around his house’s interior.

Many people treat their natural gifts the same way.

Like Levi, we’re all born with certain gifts and have zero say in the process. We’re at the mercy of whoever’s pushing us. We simply accept the free push forward and enjoy the ride.

Eventually we’re riding flat-out like Luik, doing exactly what we were born to do, moving efficiently and even showing off from time to time.

But it’s the middle part that often makes or breaks us. We’re better with our present means than we are with a new one. We’ve mastered what we know, while the new is awkward and inefficient.

But when our aptitude exceeds our capacity we stop growing.

The new is not the enemy; the hard work, suppression of pride to accept help and look ignorant (because we are), and discipline needed for mastery is. This is the learning process. This is seeing the trike as a cycle not a wagon. Yes, he actually can run faster pushing it than he can riding it, but the skill set he obtains with mastering the tricycle is precisely what he’ll need to employee when graduating to a bicycle.

No matter what stage you’re in right now, there’s an opportunity for growth. Recognizing that you’ll need to step down from your mastery of the present to embrace a seemingly infantile process for the new is almost always the key to avoiding plateaus and advancing to the next round.

I find it interesting that the process of feeling dumbed down to learn a new skill set feels very childlike for my adult brain. Yet how poignant that we are called to be childlike when laying claim to territory within the Kingdom.

Your tricycle is calling. ch:


Susie · 20 Mar ’12 at 8:56 am

Wow…favorite post to date…and that’s saying a lot because I love your posts. The illustration is so great, it’s like when my nephew was learning to walk. Crawling was faster, so her refused to learn for the longest time because walking was slower and frustrating..but in order to get to the running and jumping part he had to first learn how to walk…or when I was learning how to sing harmony…melody was way easier and I was off tune at first….now I can seamlessly transition into harmony at any point of the song.
Sorry if this seems all over the place but the wheels are a-turning in my head. πŸ™‚ miss you and the Hopper tribe!

    Christopher Hopper · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:04 am

    Great stuff Susie. At least your nephew will be good at math; scientists have proven that brain development for integers is directly associated with crawling.

    Hope the move is treating you well!

Kim Ingerson · 20 Mar ’12 at 9:18 am

Christopher, Christopher…why must you always challenge me (lol!). No really, thank you. Your statement, “I find it interesting that the process of feeling dumbed down to learn a new skill set” hit me hard. I realized that it’s part of the process and not to be intimidated by it. Instead of feeling inadequate or unqualified, it’s actually part of my growing process to increase my abilities and I should embrace it. Kind of freeing, actually πŸ™‚ I also feel challenged of knowing where I’d like to go, but not knowing in the least how to get there! Perhaps the map will unfold itself as I take the plunge to increase my knowledge and skill knowing that risks are involved (yikes!). This goes along with a quote I found by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” Thanks for the post!

    Christopher Hopper · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:07 am

    Thanks Kim. Love that Emerson quote, too. I think you’re absolutely on the right track with recognizing moments of ignorance as opportunities for growth not personal attacks. It’s a hard bridge to cross, but once over, learning is embraced with gusto (think of how eager children are to learn, yet never take instruction as a personal attack).

    Max Lucado said, “It’s the books that you read and the people that you meet that will most influence your life.” When I get stuck, I start reading, and start trying to connect with people.

jamie rutigliano · 20 Mar ’12 at 9:42 am

Pastor Cristopher , Thank You so much for the challenging insight !!!!..A way to embrace the *Dumbing Down* experience…instead of allowing the enemy of our mind to beat us down !..I hope I will always allow this process in my life and not fear it . Thank You .Have a Super Blessed Day !

    Christopher Hopper · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:09 am

    Thanks Jamie; appreciate the comment.

    I usually find that my level of acceptance of instruction and critique from people is directly proportional to the level of teachability by the Holy Spirit. The more I learn to yield to him and allow Jesus to dictate my identity, the more easily I receive and embrace from others for my own betterment.

Beth · 20 Mar ’12 at 9:46 am

Wow. So right on! I can’t get enough of your posts about your family. The pictures are so precious.
I was just talking with someone last night about how it’s inspiring to see people try new things and fail. Not that we enjoy seein anyone fail, but to atempt something and not succeed yet, get right back up & do it again (making improvements until its right).
We all have gifts and the learning process on how to utilize them might be tough, but we could be helping someone else find their gifts on the process. πŸ™‚ Thanks, can always use an extra push from you & your boys. πŸ™‚

    Christopher Hopper · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:10 am

    I love Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote on this:

    “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

Billy Jepma · 20 Mar ’12 at 9:58 am

Wow, this really hit me this morning. I personally get really annoyed at leaning a new task for the reason you stated,”the process of feeling dumbed down to learn a new skill set feels very childlike for my adult brain.” Thanks for the uplift Christopher. Reading your blog is always a highlight of my day! Much love brother, πŸ™‚

    Christopher Hopper · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:10 am

    I appreciate that a lot, Billy. Thanks for the encouragement.

Gabe · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:08 am

Wow, it’s amazing what you can learn from your kids when you keep your eyes open. Awesome post.

    Christopher Hopper · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:11 am

    My kids teaching me new things every single day I’m with them. They’ve made me a better man without question.

Victoria Herrera · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:21 am

Sometimes I think that in our complacency and fear of learning something new, we forget to trust our Creator. Lately the Lord has been putting it on my heart that I just need to trust Him and stop thinking that my tiny little brain can just figure everything out. What a great encouraging/ challenging post! Thanks friend!

    Christopher Hopper · 20 Mar ’12 at 11:43 am

    Little me. Big God. My how often I forget that. Well said Victoria!

Sverker · 20 Mar ’12 at 11:03 am

This post is going to be sent to Lisa … she is in a similar process at high school … Will encourage her !

Brian · 20 Mar ’12 at 5:10 pm

Good word my friend. As always, very encouraging and uplifting. Your life (specifically your writings) are always pointing to Christ and you remain a role
model in my life!
You should consider compiling your blogs into a daily devotional. I will be the first to purchase that ebook!

Blessings and love

    Christopher Hopper · 20 Mar ’12 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks again Brian. You’re such a tremendous encouragement to me. You’re a great man that I admire very much.

    And I’ll take that ebook suggestion to heart. Thanks.

Comments are closed.