This summer, I started trying to teach ~K~ how to ride without training wheels. He was 6 at the time, and I thought that since he was more willing to try new things, that it would be an easier process than with his brother. I was wrong.
After a couple of bad starts without training wheels, he got more and more cautious on his bike with training wheels and finally stopped riding it altogether. I gave up trying to push him because just wasn’t working. So I gave up for a while. I wasn’t to broken up about this because (let’s be honest here) it’s a lot of work to push a kid to do something.
~K~ became more interested in riding a scooter (2-wheel) and actually became fairly proficient at it to the point that he could balance on the scooter and ride it down a slight hill. He still wouldn’t touch his bike, and in the back of my mind, I thought that I was going to try again to teach him in the spring. This “dad job” has been hanging over my head and I regret that his bad experiences had turned ~K~ off toward riding his bike.
Fast forward to today, a blustery cold December evening. I got home late from work and was tired and in no mood to be messed with. ~K~ announces that he wants to show me something outside after supper. I looked for my wife to say: “It can wait until tomorrow, ~K~, Daddy’s tired.” But instead she gave me “the look” and said that it would be worth it: “Trust me.”
So I go outside after supper, and ~K~ is taking his time getting ready. The wind is blowing and I’m cold and wondering what is taking so long. I just want to get back inside and am impatient to do so.
Then, he gets on his bike without training wheels and rides around the driveway. I couldn’t believe it.
The story that ~K~ told me was that he was just bored, and so he decided to take the training wheels off his bike and try riding it because he thought it would be exciting. He had a little help from Mom, but mostly did it himself. (My wife’s account of the story is quite similar.)
I was thrilled and told ~K~ so. His attitude toward riding his bike had skyrocketed and I made every effort to express how proud and pleased I was that he had learned how to ride without training wheels. I couldn’t believe that he had done it on his own, that he needed no coaxing or prodding or pushing from me. It was like a parenting freebie. One of those things that your kid just does on his own accord.
It was after he went to bed, though, that I found out about the kicker:
My wife related that after riding for a while and starting to get the hang of it, ~K~ came in for a drink of water and remarked, “Man, riding my bike is really fun!”
My wife replied, “I’m so glad! See, ~K~, that’s what Mom and Dad have been telling you.”
~K~ turned thoughtful. “Yeah, Mom, you were right! I’m sorry for being so stubborn.”
When I heard that, I wanted to jump up and down and shout from the roof tops: “It’s all worth it!!”