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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Things I Learned From My Children's First Family Bike Ride

My older two children have been trying to learn to ride their bikes without training wheels. My husband, God bless him abundantly, has taken it upon himself to be the one to conduct the instruction of this. I tried but very quickly discovered that it was not going so well as I found it difficult to keep my eyes on two children on two wheels trying not to topple over while I was pushing another in a stroller or watching her on a tricycle. One mom and three children on wheels in a neighborhood street are not a good combination for mom's health and mental well being. So, my husband has been the one. He has been taking each child out one at a time without training wheels. He has returned with happy children in one piece upon each journey complete with reports of their status. Today, he believed they could handle a trip around the neighborhood if I came along on my bike with third child in tow behind me in our Burley bike carrier which thankfully she is still way under the weight limit to occupy.

We took off on our neighborhood trek. My husband trailed my older daughter, and I (with other child in tow) trailed my son. I watched him do an excellent job of pedaling up the first hill with gusto. My daughter, on the other hand, struggled with the hills but had excellent balance and speed. Though, he stayed upright, my son tended to wobble and go slow and steady with me behind him biting at the bit to go faster especially down the hills where, for some reason (I think it, understandably, has a lot to do with the fact that his hand brakes do not work leaving him to use his pedal brakes) he panics and slows down. We were almost around the entire neighborhood when I was behind him on a very slight hill going very slowly and carefully. I heard my brakes grab metal against metal as I tried to stay slow enough to tail him and keep him within my view. It was then I realized that this is where maturity as a parent comes into play.

As I trailed him at a snail's pace, I began to think about all the times in his life where I had tailed him allowing him to learn and grow. I was there when he learned to walk and walked ever so slowly behind him until he was up and running. He was very cautious in learning every physical skill he has ever attained. He tends to not attempt things until he is absolutely positively 100 percent sure he can accomplish it with excellence. I was there when he was potty training, trailing behind pushing for the process to move faster. I was there when he learned various other skills, trailing behind him for safety sake and partially doting parental choice in doing so. I began to realize what a sacrifice of personal pleasure parenting really involves. Yet, at the same time, how much utter joy it brings me. But, I began to think about those who have trailed me in my life as I learned new things.

I began to wonder how many times God has trailed me wanting me to learn faster and go faster, pleading with me to obey and simply listen to His voice. It made me wonder how many times God had been so very patient with me as a Heavenly Father trailing behind me, holding my hand as I learned to walk through new situations and slowing down His pace to meet me where I needed to be met and to be there to catch me if when and if I fell.

As we made our first loop around the neighborhood, we opted to go a little bit farther and attempt going back up the first hill, down a hill and over to a local park. From there, we could follow a trail that would be off the road and completely safe from traffic and other dangers until returning home. You know what? We made it! We had a blast! And, on the way back home from the park, I noticed how my son was looking more confident. He pulled those hills with excellence. And gained so much confidence in our first family bike ride!

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