We love our children dearly and want to protect them as much as we can, while still letting them learn their own way, become their own people and develop their talents.
Lindsey had a challenging start to her 4th grade year.
On the first day of school we received a flyer home from the gym teacher informing us of a biking unit that they'll be having right away this fall. Children will be expected to bring or ride their bikes to school, and they will learn about biking safety and bike around the gorgeous lakes that are in our neighborhood.
Sounds like a dream gym class for any 4th grader. Except our 4th grader has yet to learn how to ride her bike.
When she read the flyer she burst into tears. I told her we could get a pass from the class since she couldn't ride, but then she said she didn't want a pass because she was embarrassed that her friends would find out that she couldn't ride her bike yet. She'd been embarrassed about it for a year or more which was part of the reason why she still hadn't learned how to ride. She refused to practice in our own neighborhood where her friends might see her. Any attempts we made to take her to a remote location like a parking lot was met with about 5 minutes of effort, 5 minutes of whining and 10 minutes of pouting. We gave up. She would just have to learn how to ride in her own time...whenever that would be. Apparently now was the time.
She decided that she would learn how to ride her bike in two weeks. And guess what -- she did. She confided in a friend of hers that she didn't yet know how to ride a bike, and her friend came over and showed her. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her finally riding down the street. Wobbly, but riding. We tried to teach her for 2 years and her friend taught her in 5 minutes.
One problem was that she was still riding the bike we bought her when she was 4 or 5, and she is now 9. Because really, who would buy a child a bike that fit them when she hadn't learned to ride the smaller one she already had? She was still unsteady; I figured that a smaller bike would be better for her for a while, at least until she got more confidence. Wayne thought that we may want to get her a larger bike before her class, but I was concerned about her confidence on the larger bike, and said we should wait.
The day of the first biking outing Lindsey was excited. She couldn't wait to take her bike to school. She had learned how to use a bike lock and loved her helmet. I couldn't wait to pick her up from school to see how it had gone.