The hardest part of raising children is teaching them to ride a bicycle ... A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom ... —Sloan Wilson
I remember the shiny, new bicycle in our living room: cobalt blue and fire engine red, fifteen speeds, center pull brakes, a lightweight modern design frame, shock absorbers, and high-end derailleurs (the mechanism that moves the chain from sprocket to sprocket in the process of shifting gears). I knew the bike would provide my son years of biking pleasure through several growth spurts....if he’d just give it a chance.
All the special features impressed the “heck” out of him when the bike was at the store. But once he tried to ride it in our neighborhood and found that there was a learning curve involved, he let it fall to the ground and wanted to know what the return policy was.
I squelched an angry retort, recognizing that he needed my encouragement to understand this was simply a crisis of confidence. I helped him see that patience and one pedal at a time would result in skilled riding. I took him to a school yard, instructed him on the basics, and watched him practice for an hour with determination. He mastered the art of switching gears in no time, and with this mastery achieved freedom. He had wheels now. He could fly down the street. The wind in his face felt amazing.
Support and freedom. Holding tight and letting go. In the words of Hodding Carter, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.”
Two halfs of the parenting equation that add up to a whole child from the inside out.
Causes Andrea Gosline Supports
Friends of the Urban Forest, Greenpeace, Roots and Shoots