Saturday, August 6, 2011

Styles of Bike Riding

Before Chris leaves for work, he cuddles with Collin.

This summer, I hoped my three oldest boys would become proficient bike riders. We purchased two sturdy bikes for our eldest boys, and Cooper still fits on his Cars birthday bike. Armed with the proper equipment, I'd escort each boy to the edge of our driveway for private lessons and evaluations. It's funny, as I watched my boys learn to bike, I noticed their methods of riding matched their personalities.

Caleb voiced strong opinions against riding a bike. He wore a scowl as he settled himself on the seat. He grumbled as his legs began to push the pedals. After a couple of days of practice, he successfully rode down the street...on his terms (riding just the distance he wanted and with me running along side as the spotter).

Cooper rode pure Cooper-style. At first, he'd pop onto the bike wearing a huge grin. Then, he'd peddle at maximum speed down the driveway. I'd watch in amazement as his little legs whipped around in a blur. He'd steer in a completely kamikaze-like fashion. His arms would whisk the bike from the left to the right side of the street while he amazingly retaining his balance. Inevitably, after several minutes of riding, he'd land in a fiery crash. He'd quickly hop back on his feet with blood oozing from every extremity, but his smile remained. He'd jump back on the seat, ready to ride again.

Connor, my most fearful son, has been extremely hesitant to ride a bike (a contraption he views much akin to a rolling deathtrap). At first, I tried all the tricks from my mommy bag to help him learn. Encouragement. Sternness. Bribery. Pleading. Connor stood firm. He eyed me with utter determination and said, "Even if I die and go to heaven, I'm still not riding a bike." Although I was a little confused about his statement, I knew it meant "not a chance."

I could have easily caved in to Connor's defiance, but I knew the root of his obstinance rested in his deep seated fear of failure. And, I also knew working through his fears benefited him more than he'd appreciate in the short term. I looked at him and said, "Connor, you can't learn something without failing a time or two." My statement, along with a massive amount of cajoling, got him on the bike. He peddled down the street sobbing, as I ran along side holding onto the handle bars.

When, we arrived at the end of the street, I praised him up and down. He looked happy and relieved.

Someday, I hope he knows our little lessons were really about more than just learning how to ride a bike.

No comments:

Post a Comment