It’s Just Like Riding a Bike


My seven-year-old son still can’t ride a bike.  A huge parenting failure, especially considering I teach spin and keep cycling a regular part of my own fitness regimen. 

 My real mistake was making his first set of wheels an oversized tricycle that even my husband can ride with the seat raised.  I essentially bought him a trike that he would never grow out of, removing all motivation to grow up.  Throw in his preference for skate boarding, his fear of all things new or potentially dangerous, and really I failed long before I started.

For the past three summers I have declared it “the summer he will learn to ride a bike.”  To which he burst into tears and hid in his room until September.    This year (after I saw my friend’s three-year-old cruising on two wheels), I meant it.

Today we had our first warm day of the year. Today there was no turning back. 

It started with a trip to the bike shop to let my son pick out a bike.  He was crying too hard to actually pick one, so my husband chose the best deal.  After a long pep talk he agreed to at least try  . . . on the following condition: we had to provide him with elbow and knee pads, wrist guards, and a strong helmet.  He also demanded ice cream.

So we geared him up . . .

He stretched a little . . .

And then warmed up . . .

He even paused for a picture . . .

 When the posing stopped and the actual riding began, it was like something out of the Cleaver Family photo album.  Dad showed him how to adjust the seat, held on while he peddled.  Son smiled and teemed with confidence.

Then came the falls, the run in with the neighbors parked trailer, and an unfortunate breaking incident that left him straddling the upper post.

Despite the tears and desperate pleas to quit, dad held strong (while I held the camera).  He reviewed breathing strategies, readjusted the seat, and demonstrated proper form to avoid “crushing the nuggets.”

Finally, he rode.  Ten feet.  Still he rode. 

Every day there are bikes to ride.  Ways in which we need to grow, times in which we need to grow up, situations in which we need to learn. 

 Take David: a man who faced many battles; from fighting Goliath to running from Saul.  His cry was always the same: “teach me, O God.”  He saw his life as an opportunity to know God’s word, understand God’s character, comprehend God’s plans.  It was in the hard things that he learned the most.

In his biggest mistake (infidelity and murder), he learned the mercy and grace of God.  When he was most afraid (running from Saul), he witnessed the protection and refuge of God.  At his weakest moment (the death of his son), he saw the redemption and love of God. 

Our heart should cry out “teach me, O God.”  It is a scary request because lessons do not always come easy.  But we can teem with confidence knowing that God always holds the back wheel steady. 

And even if we only go ten feet, He rewards us as though we rode a great distance.

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