Plate Spinning

‘Plate spinning is a circus manipulation art where a person spins plates, bowls and other flat objects on poles, without them falling off…’

Single plates

Yesterday I was chatting to our neighbour Mark… at the end of the garden tinkering with spanners and bikes. ‘Kelly’s bought a new bike…’ He explained his tinkering.

‘If I’m up here Kelly can’t find me any other jobs to do…’ Mark’s always busy but likes to focus on one job at a time. I identified with Mark. I’d come to water the tomatoes. Spinning one plate is straightforward.

Multiple plates…

Kelly joined us. ‘She’s come to check up on me!’ We all smiled. Their two young sons joined them.

We chatted about the challenges of family life… the boys growing up and going back to school, Kelly’s job, Mark’s job, rising prices, balancing their budget, keeping out of debt, their wider family… multiple spinning plates.

…Musing on… the multiple plate spinning days of running a school… the French teacher going on maternity-leave needs replacing, a playground argument needs resolving, a drain needs unblocking, the quiet, anxious child who’d just joined the school needed care…

Falling plates…

…There’s no response to the French teacher advert, the playground argument has escalated, blocked drains means closed toilets, the anxious child alleges abuse… a falling plate.

…Musing further… colleague headteachers who had to retire on ill-health… friends faced with illness, redundancy, family crisis, bad choices… folk, skilled at multiple plate spinning, find their plates came crashing down around them…

One plate at a time…

This morning, reading Ezekiel 33… Ezekiel’s a watchman standing on the city walls, watching out for any danger that might be coming. Whatever his family concerns, meal arrangements, pay negotiations… at that moment he has one task – he’s a watchman… A single spinning plate.

It’s Mark tinkering with bikes… he has lots of family plates spinning, but for now he’s focusing on one plate.

Today… I’ll focus on one plate at a time…

2 thoughts on “Plate Spinning

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