Like Riding a Bike

For some kids, learning to ride a bike is easy. For others, it takes longer to really “get it.” It turns out that nothing is second nature for everyone, and when that’s the case, the task at hand must be broken down into more manageable steps.

Two of my children learned to ride on their own with minimal coaching. When another child had reached 9 years of age without any interest in learning, I figured it was time to intervene. Before teaching him to ride, I thought there were only 2 steps involved. I soon found out that I was wrong. I realized that the steps I used to teach him apply to many situations, not just bike riding.

  1. Set aside your fears. You might fall, but you can get up and keep going. A helmet will protect what’s most important, and Band-aids will cover your scrapes. You won’t suffer any serious harm if you take the right precautions.
  2. Make sure your feet can touch the ground, and get the pedal in the right place. Start with the pedal up high so you’ll be able to exert enough force to get moving.
  3. Commit. If you don’t push down the pedal with enough force, the bike will fall down. You have to push hard enough to get some momentum. It requires putting aside your fear of falling.
  4. Don’t start too slowly, or you’ll lose steam and fall over. That doesn’t mean you have to start off as fast as you can, but it has to be fast enough to keep your balance.
  5. Remember to steer. It’s easier if you keep your eye on the goal and grip the handles tightly.
  6. Make gradual turns and stops. Too quickly, and you’ll lose your balance.
  7. Keep practicing until you get it right and it becomes second nature. You’ll never forget once you’ve learned how to ride a bike!
favorite “bike” picture ever: my paternal grandparents

It took about 6 hours of coaching, but my 9-year-old was able to learn to ride a bike. The most rewarding moment was seeing him take off down the hill, smiling as he felt the breeze on his face. He understood in that moment why I’d been encouraging him to keep going and exclaimed that it was worth it.

Setting goals and reaching them is always worth it, even when it’s hard to get there.

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