Pedal, pedal, pedal fall. Pedal, pedal, pedal fall. For three days-in-a-row, I watch in amazement as my six-year-old AD tries to master riding his big boy bicycle without training wheels.
After the first day, I didn’t think he would try again. AD shed many tears of frustration. He was hesitant, fearful, and his temper flared every time he hit the pavement. So, when he stepped off the bus from school the next day, his father and I were surprised that his first words to us were, “I want to ride my bike.”
It brought such joy to both of us to see the determination in his eyes. He wanted to learn to ride his big boy bike and he wasn’t going to give up. It was especially heartwarming to hear those words, because in the past when AD felt like he couldn’t do something or was not automatically the best, he allowed his frustration to take over and he often quit or had a self-defeating attitude.
His father and I explained to him countless times that no one is born knowing how to do everything and that you have to learn how to sit, crawl, walk, talk, read, write, and ride a bike. We told him that with time, practice, and effort you can accomplish anything. Until he stepped off the bus, it seemed like our words were not getting through.
His attitude shift and newfound focus really started me thinking. When was the last time I stepped out of my comfort zone to learn something new? When was the last time I faced a challenge and really worked to master something that did not come naturally.
I truly believe that people can do anything they put their minds to, so why as adults do so many people, myself included, stay within our comfortable limits? Are we afraid of failure? Are we afraid to feel vulnerable? Are we being hypocrites by trying to convince our children that limitations do not exist, when secretly so many of us are bound by our own limitations?
Again, I find myself marveling at children and the lessons they can teach us all. Everyday, I watch the children in my daycare learn and develop. Everything is new and unknown for these little ones, but they do not allow fear to dominate them.
Unlike many adults, they push themselves to learn and explore all boundaries. Falls and boo boos are inevitable, but this never stops them from pushing ahead. I watch the babies try to climb every bookcase, jump off tables, run full-speed into just about everything. As they grow, I watch as they figure out a circle from a square, a letter from a number. I see the joy in their eyes the first time they write their name or read their first word.
It took three intense days of effort for AD, but eventually he figured out how to pedal, make turns, use the brake, and push-off without help. He is athletic and smart, but it took work. I am so proud of him for not giving up. I hope this experience is a lesson for any future challenge he may face. And I hope I can follow his lead and push myself to not only try, but learn something new – as long as it doesn’t involve jumping out of airplanes, fire, swordplay, or arctic conditions… at least not to start with.
When was the last time you tried to learn something new? Do you place limitations on yourself? Please leave a comment or join the discussion on the Tiny Steps Mommy Facebook page.