Caroline learned to ride her bike today.
Most nights when I'm tucking-in Caroline to bed she asks me the question, "Daddy do you have to work tomorrow?", and then I usually tell her yes, sweetie I do. This time, afterward I asked her, "Is there something you wanted to do?" and she said that she wanted to learn to ride her bike without training wheels. I told her that we would do it when I came home from work.
Well, I learned a few things from this small but significant experience that I had to write down before I lost them.
- Caroline realized that she needed a coach (and who better than Daddy) to teach her to do something that she'd never done. There was a gap between her current abilitiy (riding a bike with training wheels) and what she really desired the ability to do (ride with no training wheels). Most important, she wasn't ashamed to ask for help.
- At first, she needed to draw-up courage, as she wasn't able to ride without my holding her in place, she was afraid to fall.
- If my kids can't seem to get over a fear of trying something new I tell them, "Just do it afraid". No matter how hard we try, sometimes we just can't get the fear of failure to go away and often times we think, "I'll do it when the fear goes away". But what we can do instead is simply embrace the fact that the fear may not go away until we're on the other side of accomplishment.
- Being a mountain biker I knew this one well, but I realized it again with Caroline. In biking (and with life), you can't focus your eyes on where you don't want to go (cause you'll go there), you have to focus where you want to go. Try it sometime, it's true.
- After about 5 minutes of trying she thought she had it and exclaimed, "this is easy dad!" The contrast between that moment and 6 minutes ago was extreme - it's amazing how much confidence she gained in those few minutes, her sails were full of wind.
- Well she had it - a little, but she also had the curse of competence. What she didn't have was the turning and stopping parts. Don't we love to quickly think we've learned it all,...but there's always more.
- As her coach I gained so much. I was able to enjoy recalling the day I was taught to ride my bike (and my dad teaching me) and then remembering all my other kids who I helped to learn to ride - the teacher always gets more than the student.