Road rash, resilience and redemption

Seven is a bit old to be learning how to ride a bicycle. I know because that’s how old I was when I learned and I distinctly remember it being a point of embarrassment that I couldn’t do this very fundamental thing that all of my friends could do. What I did was I went to war with my old grey huffy on the street I grew up on. I battered myself against the asphalt for an entire day until I could put those two wheels in motion with myself at the helm. The 200 block of Sweetwater street in Lander Wyoming when I was seven years old. Today, my seven year old son did the exact same thing on the exact same street.

Sometimes, even the things that matter most just sort of slip through the cracks. Well that would be the situation with teaching my middle son how to ride a bike. Today, we decided to right that wrong.

He’s been less than enthusiastic about the process but this morning we had a conversation about all of the awesome things we can do when he learns how to ride his bike. He was suddenly determined and so we brought his bike over to his grandparent’s house while I went to work.

As soon as we got there he got on his bike and got to work. He was truly single minded and determined. By the time I got off this evening he was still hard at it but with no great results. His forearms we’re riddled with scrapes and his palms worn red, only matching the road rash from a tumble he took on his scooter two days ago when he decided to slow his descent down a hill with his face.

My middle son is prone to giving up, or at least that’s what I used to think. Today I saw a side of him that I didn’t know existed. He was convicted and determined and unrelenting; today my son was a hero.

Though he hadn’t yet made any real progress, his dedication to the goal was not diminished. I decided that I should intervene and so I simply gave him a push, literally, and that’s all it took. Once he felt the bike stabilizing under the motion of his own pedaling, he had it. My son learned to ride a bike the same way I did on the exact same stretch of asphalt. How’s that for beautifully ironic?

Of course the three year old, never one to be out done, had to flex his newfound scooter abilities for the camera…

We went for another bike ride when we got home and there were some newfound challenges presented with hills and sidewalks but I know if we keep at it every day that he’ll be a pro within a week. As a dad, I simply can’t explain how impressed I am with the courage and mental fortitude that he demonstrated today. It inspired me, if I’m being honest. Grit is truly the secret ingredient to greatness. It’s a a habit that one must build over time in order to shape themselves into an unstoppable force. Road rash, resilience and redemption. This is the story of how my seven year old son learned today that he can accomplish what he sets his mind to. My hope is that this lesson will be one which he may truly develop a habit of tenacity from because that is a thing built upon a foundation of good habits. It’s something you develop a muscle memory for, something hard that becomes something easy; just like riding a bike.