Lessons from Bike Riding

For Christmas 2018, Madilynn received a bicycle as her “big gift.” The bike came with training wheels, which was a good thing since she’d never ridden a bike. She’s spent hours riding the bike and enjoys every moment of it. A few weeks ago, I realized it might be time to take the training wheels off and I talked with her about doing that. Then I forgot until we took the bike and scooter to play with friends. Yesterday, I took one training wheel off so that she could start figuring out how to balance the bike on her own. As I assisted, encouraged, and watched her, I realized just how many life lessons we can learn from riding a bike.

  1. We all need a little help sometimes. Human beings are born completely dependent on someone else for everything. As we grow, we develop our independence. Sometimes the “I can do it myself” drive is louder and more forceful than the voice that acknowledges the need for help. When you start riding a bike, you might need training wheels. If you are an adult who’s never ridden a bike, they also make adult training wheels! Life’s training wheels might be trusted friends, family members, or community support groups. It’s okay to ask for what you need.
  2. Balance is key. When you ride a bike, your body position keeps the bike balanced. In life, your balance comes from how you arrange your priorities. If you maintain healthy habits and boundaries, you remain upright. If you carry too much on one side, you’ll tip in that direction. You might even fall down.
  3. When you fall, get up again. Falling is okay, as long as you get up again. You can feel all your feelings about your failures, but don’t pitch your tent in the negativity. Get up and apply what you learned. Most success doesn’t happen with the first attempt. Keep moving forward. Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
  4. Building new muscles hurts! More than once after hours of riding, Madilynn will say, “My legs are sore!” Yesterday, she also added, “My arm hurts.” When you build muscles, the old ones actually tear before they become stronger. Life’s circumstances may break us, but when we choose to rise up, we develop new strength. In our household, this strength comes from our faith.

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