For someone that grew up with green grass nearby, I never considered where one would learn to ride a bicycle in a city. Parks are not always convenient. Aspiring kids do not have a backyard to experiment in. The only choice is a quiet street or parking lot. I recently watched a father giving his son the first lesson in the parking floor located in the lower basement of the condominium.
I admired the kid for his courage. In my mind’s eye, one always had the benefits of the cushion of grace and soft soil to take the edge off the first falls. In this reality, the shiny concrete offered no mercy. In my imagination, one could weave in the pattern created by one’s wobbly steering. In this reality, hard edged columns, motorcycles, and parked cars created clear boundaries to the potential path.
In my imagination I vividly remember my first ride. I was so proud! I was going to cruise then speed. Success was a given! With Dad’s careful instruction, watchful eye, there was no opportunity to fail. In the first instant, it all came together. First instant, I was moving forward. Second instant, I was riding. Third instant, I crashed. My frustration turned to the man behind me. My before and after thoughts were old words; “I’m [Dad’s] God’s favorite. He made me king of the mountain. Then you looked the other way and I fell to pieces.” (Psalm 30.7) In short, it is your fault.
I looked to the father and son and watched myself in the son’s movement. Did he understand the permission he was being given? Did he realize this was a step away from the nest and into the world? Whatever happened, it was all him.
I am glad my Dad pushed me. I am even happy I crashed. With both, I discovered the value of listening. One can be richer when s/he accepts the wisdom gifts from others. I also felt the embrace of living and being a person. Even with the pain of falling, riding is wonderful.