If you want to learn to ride a bike, you have to take the training wheels off.
Two weekends ago I took my son to a nearby park and while we were there, he saw a group of older boys riding their bikes. He coveted them. His eyes focused on them and then he turned to me and said, “Mama, I want to ride my bike without the baby wheels.” Immediately, a shiver ran through my spine. My son inherited a lot of my good genes, but unfortunately I think he inherited my lack of balance.
When we arrived home, my husband got to work and removed the training wheels as the little general commanded. He put his Captain America helmet on, jumped on the bike, and without any instructions my husband just pushed him down our driveway with his Herculean strength, as if he were playing bowling. The kid went down straight and crashed against our neighbor’s mail box.
I ran toward him, but my husband stopped me and said to me firmly, “Please go inside the house.” I saw my little man on the ground with tears rolling down his cheeks, begging me for help. Although my heart wrinkled, I knew that I had to let my husband do what dads do. I hid in the garage out of my son’s sight, but I could still see him from the window as he continued crashing in every direction for the next 15 minutes.
At the end of the lesson, he came in the house sweating and limping. I kissed his scratched hands and told him how proud of him I was. He took a shower and I saw his legs covered in bruises like a pair of polka-dot leggings. After I put him to sleep, I came out of his bedroom like a lioness ready to chew my husband’s butt.
I understood that he was teaching our son courage, but in my view, he had gone too far turning something fun into the worst torture. He argued that he was breaking the fear and challenging him to succeed. “I promise you he’ll ask to do it again tomorrow ,” said my husband with confidence. We agreed to disagree and I went to bed.
The next morning at breakfast, my son asked me a question while I packed his lunch bag: “Can we practice riding the bike this afternoon?” His dad walked out of our bedroom and gave me the look saying smugly, “Seeeeeeee????“
After school I followed the same routine my husband taught him the day before, but I put my twist on it and taught him something my husband didn’t: how to press the breaks if he wished to stop. We practiced for an hour, and even though he fell and crashed on the bushes a couple of times, he was laughing the whole time.
Riding a bicycle after removing the training wheels requires courage and balance, just like life. And if one yanks the handle bar to either extreme, it can guarantee a fall.
After watching the riots and protests against Donald Trump’s victory, I figured out one thing: The parents of many Millennials–or the so called “Trophy Generation”–forgot to remove the training wheels of their children’s bikes. These kids (many of them way over 30 years old) are incapable of facing contradiction and much less defeat.
They are used to throwing tantrums if events don’t go their way, because all the adults in their lives–specially members of college Academia–have perpetuated their Peter Pan syndrome. These pathetic souls have no respect for private property or people’s time, and they need safe spaces, comfort blankets, play dough, and coloring books to deal with their frustrations.
I wish I could put them all in a play pen and shut them all up with a pacifier.
I don’t know how long these protesters will continue to disturb the peace. What I do know is that my son will practice until he rides his bicycle to perfection. My husband and I will continue to teach him balance, even though with different approaches, but with the same finish line: hard work and self worth.
Thank you for reading and sharing,
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