Everything that is old hat is like riding a bike. The only problem is actually learning how to. Shouldn't learning how to ride a bike, be like riding a bike. Confused? Yeah so am I.
Taking a trip to my parents house a couple of weeks ago afforded me the opportunity to try and teach my son how to ride a bike. They have a much bigger driveway than I do and a lot more space. All I really have is a sidewalk and it's a little too bumpy to learn how to ride. I figured this was the place that I learned and I still know how to ride, so it couldn't be too hard to teach him.
Boy was I wrong.
I had gotten some tips from a lot of people including one from an old, not really old-- she would kill me if I called her that, friend of mine from college. She said that I should try taking the training wheels and the pedals off and get him used to balancing on the bike first. After a couple of hours -- who has that kind of time?-- he would be riding off into the sunset. Well, teaching a kid to ride a bike can be a very frustrating thing. You want them to get it right away so you can pull up next them on your own Schwinn and enjoy rides together. But it's not that easy, kids don't understand things like balancing and that if you don't know how to, chances are you are going to fall. Falling is not something my boy likes to do, and I don't like seeing him fall.
I don't have hours, actually I do, to teach him how to do this seemingly simple task. He's a big kid, just turned seven, so he should be able to figure these things out by himself, right?. What I realize that I don't have is the patience. After about thirty minutes, riding lessons turned into a racing game between him, his brother, and my mother -- who found her 50 (gasp!) year old bike in the attic of her garage. I tell you, that it is a beautiful old bike that I am sure some collector would love if it was in a little better shape. Anyway I was happy for the break in the action, it gave me a chance to figure out the next way to get this done.
I put the training wheels and the pedals back on. I know that this is the wrong way to go, and that it's akin to potty training and then putting them back in diapers while doing it. You just have to stick the course and realize that there are going to be issues with learning a new task. If they pee all over the floor or make a doody on top of the cat then so be it, they will learn eventually. If he falls down, then you know what, he'll get back on that horse and do it all over again. He'll get it.
What I learned is that I really don't have any issue with him riding a bike with training wheels, it's going to take time. He learned how to go to the bathroom, he learned how to swim, he learned how to read and write, and you know what, he'll learn how to ride a bike too. It might not have been that week at my parents house but someday he'll be riding off into the sunset, and I'll be at home wanting him to come back, wishing that I never took those training wheels off in the first place.