I was so sure it was going to work. The article said “How to Learn to Ride a Bike in 15 minutes.” The process seemed straight forward enough.
- Start on a gentle slope – check.
- Make sure it’s on a grassy slope to prevent scrapes – check.
- Helmet – check.
- Make sure the bike seat is low enough so their feet touch the ground – check.
- Let them glide down the hill and build momentum.
- Do it repeatedly until they can balance, then move to pedaling down the hill.
We didn’t get to pedaling.
How to Learn to Ride a Bike in 15 Minutes…or Not
He bravely followed our directions, letting his feet hang by the side and gliding down the gentle slope. He didn’t steer and keep the handle bars straight until we told him specifically to do it.
He finally seemed to understand the importance of steering instead of just letting the handlebars turn, turn, turn and fall.
We did this over and over again.
Some of the times he jumped up bravely and picked up his bike, ready to try again. Most of the time he cried loudly and complained.
We are Different People
Friends of ours had posted a video of their 5 year old learning how to ride a bike with a similar method. He took off during the first try with a gleeful yell, pedaling off into the sunset. It was inspiring.
I showed the video to our youngest son before we tried our own “how to” segment. He watched. He calmly said, “Mom, I am not Sam and Sam is not me. We are different people.”
I was expecting him to feel the slight bit of freedom in learning how to balance on his bike and that he would just take off into the sunset like Sam. But indeed, as he said, they are different people.
Being a Beginner
We gently told him his effort was wonderful – that he was doing a great job trying.
Inside, I was frustrated – saying to myself, “Just put your feet up on the pedals and pedal! It’s so easy! Just try it!”
That’s how it is with new skills though isn’t it? To a person who already knows how to do something, we are impatient and incredulous that the other can’t pick it up quickly. We wonder why it is taking them so long and can’t remember when we were beginners.
I’m thankful for how my youngest son reminds me that he is his own person and will do things on his own timetable, and not mine. He may need to learn how to ride a bike in 15 minutes after 15 tries, or maybe even 150. He reminds me of how I want to be seen as a unique individual and not compared to anyone else.
What wisdom have you learned from a young person lately?
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