Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Recently I took an advanced motorcycle training course to sharpen my riding skills. It was about five hours in length and focusing on improving riding skills to minimize potential accidents. I had been wanting to take such a course for some time, but I hadn't found one available.

My motorcycle mentor, Jim Woodford, called a few weeks back and informed me of this course so I signed up. Actually, Jim was the instructor. He is a certified motorcycle safety instructor and an outstanding motorcyclist. I was excited about the chance of taking the class.

When we arrived for the course, Jim started the class with basic information. We also had to do a motorcycle checklist to show the road worthiness of our individual motorcycles. We rode our own motorcycles for this class so they had to proven to be in proper mechanical shape.

"Big Red" passed with flying colors. From tire pressure to lights and electrical, everything was in order. Good motorcycle safety begins with the motorcycle proving to be road worthy.

Then it was out to the "range" where we would be riding. Jim directed us to the first exercise and then demonstrated how to do it by riding through the course for us to watch him. That looked really easy to me. I didn't see a problem doing what he demonstrated.

Then it was our turn.

I followed the other 11 motorcyclist and began to do what he had just demonstrated. Then I realized how much better he was at riding a motorcycle than me. I couldn't do it. It wasn't easy at all. I couldn't make the turns and weaves he was making.

With a little practice that morning I began to get better. As I worked through the course, Jim and his partner would applaud when I or other riders improved or succeeded. I can't tell you how encouraging a little applause was to me that day.

All of us need a little encouragement from time to time. I know I did. Their encouragement  was motivating and stimulating. I got better and felt heartened. I began to do better each run through the course.

There is a lesson there. Why not be an encourager rather than a doubter or downer? Why not lift up rather than suppress or devalue? Why not offer a helping hand rather than a judging hand?

I think I'll be an encourager today.

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