Learning Valuable Life Lessons

Jan 21, 2019

Steph Duff

The girls from FloreSer Children’s Home stood on the shore line, feet firmly planted in the sand.  They shaded their eyes from the morning sun and gripped their boards. Each surfboard has become a trusted friend, a unique teacher over the last few years. Many of the girls have been taking surf lessons with children’s home captain, Grant Keys, for a while now. While it may seem like just an extracurricular activity, it’s been a source of many life lessons.

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“There has been a significant shift each girl’s confidence,” shared Grant Keys. “They’re learning more about who they are on the water, and it’s changed the way they view themselves and those around them.”  As the girls at Floreser meet challenges head on, they’ve learned some valuable life lessons . . . 

  1. There are things we can control, and things we cannot. Their experiences have said to them, again and again, “You are not in control and powerless to what will happen to you.” Regular time in the water has taught them otherwise. They may not always stay on top of the board, but each girl gains strength trying. Getting back up when they fall develops resiliency. 
  2. Everyone, no matter their age, can learn from someone with more experience. The girls realize having a coach who has been surfing longer will help them improve. Their surf instructor is more like a teacher, encouraging, equipping, and challenging each of the girls to push forward. Everyone needs a champion. 
  3. Difficult is worth it. New skills require time, patience, and perseverance. It is easier to walk away when we don’t master something with ease, but the pay off is in the work of rising, time and again. The girls at FloreSer are learning, each time they’re on their surfboards, the rewards of not giving up because something doesn’t come easy. 
  4. Showing up for each other is pivotal to success. The girls always attend surfing lessons as a group. Together, they are learning how to speak life into each other, reminding one another not to give up. Even if we don’t always see eye to eye, showing up for one another can alter the story.
  5. Confidence is not a result of what’s happened before, it’s a testament to the work of now. Trauma can often stain the way we view ourselves. It can create insecurity and doubt when challenges are presented. As the teens learn a new skill, and improve, they gain confidence in more than surfing. Previous hurts are still a part of their story, but leaning forward, they move into their future, not held down by their past.

Surfing for the teens of Floreser is a gateway to a lifetime of new experiences. The prayer is they remember how daunting step one once was, and how good it felt to conquer fear. That memory will carry them into classrooms and first jobs, as challenges are presented to them over and again.  They know to look for a team to always surround them and a coach to guide their learning.  There is nothing God can’t do through someone willing to step forward, even with shaky legs, and face the coming wave. 

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Steph Duff is a writer, daughter, sister, and really loud laugher. By day she lends her voice on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children with Back2Back Ministries. By night she is readily found with her nose in a book and spending time with her dog, Telulah. At all hours, she can be found consuming copious amounts of coffee. She feels most herself in the heat of India and prefers her mugs big, her books long, and her words intentional.

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