The Real Meaning of a Shoulder Ride

As a father to two little girls I have found myself as the proverbial donkey for the last 10 years. It’s a rare occurrence if I’m involved in any sort of walking with my girls, whether it is 20 feet or a mile, my shoulders aren’t carrying one of them. A few months ago I had pulled something in my neck rendering my shoulder ride services useless for a few days. During that time I learned just how lucky I was to be able to give shoulder-rides, albeit amidst the constant whine of newly mobile princesses. I pondered what having the privilege actually meant and listed below are some of what came to mind.

If you are giving a shoulder ride:

  1. You’re probably healthy, strong
  2. You’re carrying someone that loves you dearly
  3. You’re carrying someone that you love dearly
  4. There’s a good chance the rider is your child, in which case you are exponentially blessed for the good fortune of being able to have a child
  5. You’re likely outside or cruising a mall, breathing fresh air
  6. It’s likely you’re off work, probably headed somewhere you really want to be
  7. You almost certainly don’t have a sunburn (not earth shattering but I LOATH sunburns)
  8. You feel safe to walk openly with a small child in public areas; this is not something the entire world enjoys. If you’re lucky enough to be a US citizen then add to your blessings
  9. You’re making someone so very happy and without costing a cent
  10. If you’re not lifting a child, you’re likely lifting a teammate or friend in celebration, again, you are likely healthy and strong.
  11. You like serving others and have a kind heart, which is a true gift

This list could continue for miles but the point is you are amongst the utmost blessed should you find you’re giving a shoulder ride. Healthy, loving, loved, safe, happy, serving, and grateful are all appropriate words for those lucky enough to be carrying another. You are the real 1%, the most fortunate of all in these circumstances.

There is a strong symbolism of a shoulder ride in its power to assist another. Shoulder rides can carry someone else in time of need or simply take a little pressure off someone’s feet for a while. Maybe you can’t lift someone because you’re not near them in distance, maybe you are across the world from them. But chances are, you can lift almost anyone if you have the desire to do so.

There is a potential in all of us to give to others, to support them, and to lift them.

In many of life’s circumstances I find that it’s either necessary or simply a lot of fun if you’re carrying someone, literally or figuratively. As for me, I healed fast that week and have had an added zest for placing my heart on top of my shoulders every chance I get.

P.S.

Sometimes you get to be the rider…

 Man on the shoulders of another man

 -Bobby Harris

 President & CEO

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