Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Change the voices in Your Head Part II


Every once in a while  I look at my middle child Brandon and see such a quiet and gentle boy who tells me often he loves me with no initiation on my part.  I’ll get statements from out of nowhere from him like

“Dad, I love you”
“Dad, thanks for spending time with me”
“Dad thanks for taking me to lunch”
“Dad thanks for riding bikes with me”

This kid either knows how to play the “Get stuff from dad” game, or from what I am seeing is just a sweet guy.  He is also an 8 year old with a 6-pack set of abs.

Recently Brandon has gotten back on his bike.  He didn’t ride it all summer since for one reason or another, but now that it is the fall season we have taken up to going around the area for about 1 to 2 miles.  He is still mastering balance on it and how high he wants his seat in order for him to be comfortable riding while not fearing falling over.

If you bike at all, you know seat position is very important, when peddling you want as close to a full leg extension as possible to use all the muscles and get full range.  Well, that requires the seat to be a bit higher than what Brandon likes.  Since it is a position of balance, he likes to sit lower.  This causes him to work a lot harder at moving the bike forward, but it makes him comfortable.

So, this week I decided to try out the new bike trails by our house.  The trails themselves aren’t finished yet, they are still compacted gravel.  I asked my daughter Katie if she wanted to go on an adventure with me on our bikes and she said yes.  Brandon quickly piped up ‘Can I come too Dad?”

Oh man.  I initially was about to tell him no.  The way is moderate to heavy hills and it’s GRAVEL.  I know Katie could make it, since she was riding her bike during the summer and had 2 years of muscle development on Brandon.

I decided to do what any good parent would.  I would make it sound so awful that he would want to stay home.

And I almost did. 

I realized Brandon isn’t going to get better if I keep him from something that might be difficult or that he might fail at, or even worse find out middle of the way through that if he doesn’t stay committed that he won’t make it back home.  What 8 year old can comprehend that? 

As a parent of three children, I have a deep desire to see them succeed.  I purposefully set up things for them that will cause them to succeed or even fail so they can learn something from it.  I also have a belief that it is my responsibility to turn out fully functional adults at age 18.  I have a sick idea that if I can’t do that I will be a failure as a parent and a teacher.

But this lesson, this time, was going to be different.  This was a “as soon as you commit you have no choices but to continue” lesson.  And it was going to be Brandon’s first.

Getting our riding gear on I failed to notice that Brandon was riding while wearing his sandals.  Not the sharpest crayon, Brandon unlike Katie will have to marry for money instead of love it appears. :)

We had hit the trail when I realized how difficult it was going to be riding.  The gravel, although compacted would shift a bit under our tires, like sand.  The first portion of the ride was downhill and I told both Katie and Brandon to get use to what the terrain feels like under them.  Nothing can beat practical experience sometimes.  Except for ice cream, ice cream beats everything.
We had passed some group of teenage boys who were walking the same direction as us and within 5 minutes hit our first hill, which happened to be the worst.  I rode up ahead and Katie followed.  The hill curved and Brandon lost site of us.  All of a sudden I heard some yelling.  It wasn’t coming from Brandon though; it was coming from the teen boys we had passed.  I turned my bike around and rode down the hill and curve.  There was Brandon walking and one of the teenage boys had picked up his bike on his shoulder and was running trying to catch up to us.  This teenager must have thought we left Brandon because he was running really hard with Brandon’s bike.  He put the bike down when I reached him and Brandon was close behind him.

I looked at him and at Brandon.  I thanked him for helping Brandon, but informed him it was important for Brandon to make it up the hill by himself.  Whether peddling or walking his bike, Brandon needed to realize he could make it.

Also, I informed Brandon that he seemed to have been presented a different lesson that day.  Sometimes when we least expect it, and when things are getting hard or seem to be insurmountable, a person will come along and help us carry the load.

We finished the trails and headed back home.  It’s only a matter of time when this trail becomes easy to Brandon.  When that day comes, I am sure there will be other trails and other people who will help him along the way.  Life seems to be full of these.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.