by Cathy Law
ST. MARIES, Wash., March 23, 2016 - Heads are bent, finishing poems in language arts class. The door opens and Chris Tempel slips in silently, but not an eye misses him. Students grin and look at each other. It’s “Mr. Tempel Friday”!
Not many young adults would choose to spend part of his day off with kids, but Chris Tempel, Special Effects Supervisor at Laymen Ministries does. Chris is self-taught in the discipline of parkour, a method of physical training that develops one’s ability to overcome obstacles (both physical and mental). It involves movement that will help if one is in a reach or escape emergency situation.
“Circle around,” Chris commands pleasantly as the students hurry to their places. “Let’s warm up with some stretches.” Arms start swinging, following Chris’s lead. “How have you guys been?”
Quiet responses come and then animated ones. Chris expresses interest in each student while forging ahead through the routine.
“Today I’m going to show you guys how to clear an obstacle,” He pulls a desk into the center of the room. There is silence as the students watch. Chris takes a short run toward the desk, leaps with legs together as he puts his hands on the desk and shoots his legs through his arms, clearing the desk.
“Wow,” one students breathes. With instruction and encouragement, each student follows his lead. Laugher erupts when someone tumbles awkwardly, but no one gives up.
“Great form!” Chris cheers as well as offering corrective instruction to perfect the vault.
The hour goes way too fast and now its time for cool down stretches.
“So did you think about responsibility since I was here last?” Chris takes time to draw a character quality and spiritual thought at the end of their training. During his first meeting with the students, he shared how he came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior.
“Yes,” voices respond. One offers, “I fed the cows and did outdoor chores without being asked.
“I watched my brothers and sisters while my mom went shopping,” another chimes in.
“Sounds like you’re practicing responsibility!” Chris nods. “Keep setting goals for yourself,” he grins and looks at them sideways, “You might want to add to your list practicing the new parkour moves you learned today.”