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Hard to Be Humble

This week’s newsletter is called ‘Hard to be Humble’. I had suggested ‘Father Eats Humble Pie’ or ‘Bossy Boots Bites the Dust’ but I was over-ruled so I accepted the sanitized ‘Hard to be Humble’. Let me explain:

Many years ago one of our former board members, Phil Latz had the bright idea of organising a fundraising 40km bike ride called ‘Ride Around the Lake’.  This was a ride around Lake Illawarra for ‘my|place’ a youth housing project for homeless young people by Lighthouse Church, Wollongong. (Sponsorship is still possible at Ride Around the Lake) If Philip had known what grief it caused me in my home, I’m sure he would have hesitated organising the ride in the first place. As usual, I was right, my wife was wrong. It reminds me of that song ‘Gee, it’s hard to be humble when you are perfect in every way.’

Firstly, I presumed that my wife would complete the full 40 km ride with me. After all Dr John Tickell says that exercise is good for you. Both my wife and I go to the gym most mornings at 6.00 am in order to exercise. Riding 40 km around the lake would be easy!

Unfortunately, my wife Alison was not so easily convinced that this was a good idea. Undeterred I pushed on and announced at our family dinner that she was going to ride 40 km. Alison protested publicly that she probably couldn’t ride that distance nor was she even sure that she wanted to. Of course, this was like waving a red rag to a bull. I became determined. I even conspired with others such as my fitness science daughter-in-law, to put the squeeze on her mother in law to do the full 40 km. After all I was doing it for her own good.

The result was that my persistent nagging made her object to being pushed into something she plainly did not want to be coerced into. Her reasoning appeared to be that she didn’t want to be forced into anything. Eventually I saw the light!

I was wrong to expect my wife to be as physically strong as me. I had forgotten that a women’s body strength is 30% less than a man’s and that women simply do not have the stamina of men. The long distance endurance events such as marathons and triathlons show this to be the case.

So now I had to publicly apologise for the error of my ways and say sorry to my wife in front of my family. Talk about eating humble pie. We have a rule in our house. If Dad makes a public error he has to make a public apology to the family.

You guessed it, that was only the start of the embarrassment. On the day of Ride Around the Lake we rose early and lined ourselves up at the starting line with the first batch of lycra clad riders. I was looking pretty good in my flannelette shirt and jeans. Who needs lycra? I thought that I should take it easy and ‘stay behind with my wife to keep her company’. Meanwhile Alison had teamed up with one of her friends, a bit of a fitness freak, who had never ridden 40 km in her life but runs 6-7 km, 3-4 times a week.

My wife and her friend pulled away, after a short delay with a malfunctioning bike-chain, but I thought I would let her get ahead as it would be good for her ‘ego’.

Well, that was the last I saw of her. Her friend set an arduous pace, Alison rose to the occasion and left me behind.

Funnily enough, the word quickly got out, “Did you hear Marshy’s wife beat him around the lake?”

Being a father and a husband sure can be challenging. Being a servant leader and leading by example can be humiliating at times. I guess ‘bossy boots bites the dust’ is a very apt description for most of us dads at times. The main thing is that we dust ourselves off, swallow a bit of humble pie. (In spite of it being very hard to do so) We must eat the Humble Pie with a bit of Sensitivity Sauce, get on with life and pray that your wife doesn’t team up with another woman fitness fanatic at next year’s Ride Around the Lake.


The message this week is don’t let your wife get ahead of you.

No seriously, the message this week is lighten up. Don’t take yourself too seriously because as my brother used to say, “It’s a long way from the bottom to the top, but a very short distance from the top to the bottom”.

Yours for staying ahead

Warwick Marsh

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