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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Bicycle safety

Posted Monday, August 8, 2011, at 9:50 AM

It was my first time attending National Night Out, the sixth such celebration.

Robe-Ann Park in Greencastle was filled with hundreds if not thousands of children and their parents/guardians. It seemed to me that there were hundreds of booths set up for each child to visit over the course of four hours.

And I got "convinced" into helping out at the Kiwanis booth.

I picked the second shift beginning at 7 p.m. primarily because I wouldn't be in sunshine, such being a great concern for me this summer. I was able to "dress down" and be in comfortable clothes. I knew in advance that we would be helping a trained officer in teaching bicycle safety. I had no idea what that would involve.

The first shift reported that 20 children had participated so far when I and five other people learned from them what we were to do. Yahoo, I got the easy job of sitting down for both hours!

My task was to put hairnets on each child before helping them find a bicycle helmet that fit. Actually, my job became that of convincing each child to wear a hairnet!

Children would then go to an area where the instructor taught them on safety. Six bicycles had been donated for children to ride as they "practiced" good safety measures. Poor Jim Maxwell got the job of chasing down kids when they decided to ride off with one of those bikes!

Barb Rice welcomed each child after their experience with a gift and a ticket to win a brand new bicycle in a raffle at the end of the evening. They got to pick between glow sticks or reflectors to fit in their wheel spokes. I was amazed that no child put up a fit to obtain both prizes.

Even more so, I was impressed with how all the parents and guardians assisted us and were so thankful for what their children were receiving. There was such a good spirit at that event!

When our shift was over we counted and discovered that we had served around 80 children in roughly 100 minutes. We heard the announcer at the grandstand when a winner was selected for the brand new bicycle. Too far to see who she was, several leaving from that area told us later on how she just beamed upon being selected.

Spirituality involves a sense of personal worth. It includes the practice of justice. Spirituality works so that no one feels left out or different, wrong or not-wanted.

I left Robe-Ann Park last Tuesday night feeling that I had been at one of the most spiritual places on earth. Those children and their parents touched my soul.

And it wasn't just that "we" practiced spirituality towards "them." It's rare for this bachelor with no children to be around so many families at once. And they thanked me for such a simple thing as helping children put on hairnets and bicycle helmets.

I, too, left feeling a sense of personal worth and that I was wanted.

You see, if spirituality is present, all participants get included.

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Sunshine for the Soul
Rev. P.T. Wilson
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.
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