We had other friends and family that had kids around Steven’s age that were starting to ride bikes. So for Steven’s 5th birthday we got him his first bicycle with training wheels. We knew it was going to be tough because we lived on a street that had a descent slope to it and our driveway was fairly slanted as well. We had a one car garage at the time but our driveway was the width of 2 cars, so we had him going in a small circle around the top part of our driveway and garage area. Our thought was we would get him comfortable with that small area and then maybe sometime take him to a parking lot, big open area. The first week we had the bike, Steven was loving it! Then one of the training wheels broke off. We were so bummed. Rick and I both remembered how we had learnt how to ride without training wheels. Our parents ran beside us and then let us go. We couldn’t imagine the neighbors seeing us running beside our blind child on a bike with no training wheels and then letting him go. With any speed at all Steven couldn’t focus quick enough to see anything, so that didn’t seem to be a wise or safe option.
We told Steven we would put his bike in the backyard but that we couldn’t let him ride on the driveway again until we could get some new training wheels. We had a fenced backyard so Steven would play out there and we would just check on him every few minutes. We felt so bad, because both Rick’s and I’s schedules were just crazy busy during that time and neither of us were really able to work with him during those first 2 or 3 days. We would see him out there trying to balance and ride, maybe go just a few feet, fall over then get frustrated and go play again. Of course he had his bike helmet on, he knew he had to have that on before he could ride. Rick and I had talked about that it would be nice to teach him in the backyard because if he fell on the grass that would be better than hitting pavement. The problem was our backyard wasn’t that level so we knew that would be especially hard on a new rider. We had a wooden swing set, a fence around the yard and one tree, so those were Steven’s obstacles. After the third day of the bike being out there, Rick and I went out to hang with the kids for a little bit in the yard. We ask Steven how it was going with his bike. We saw this big grin come on his face. He ran over put his bike helmet on, stood his bike up on a small patio we had on the back of the house and took off riding his bike! He rode it all away around the backyard without falling or hitting anything just smiling ear to ear. We were cheering him on and of course I was tearing up. We couldn’t believe he had taught himself in just 3 short days how to ride his bike with no help from us, no training wheels and on an uneven surface. The second time around the yard he got too close to the one tree and a lower branch knocked him off his bike. He was a little upset and frustrated by that, in fact in a whining 5-year-old voice he ask us why we put a tree there. We just laughed, we apologized that the tree had gotten in his way, but all that quickly turned into us just celebrating with him on this amazing achievement. We were high fiving and hugging him.
I think so many times we put limits on ourselves and others because we can’t see far enough ahead to even feel comfortable in trying. Then if we do move forward as soon as we trip or fall down, we quickly determine we are on the wrong path.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5 & 6
When you feel like you have a true desire that God has laid on your heart. The challenge is to continue to move in that direction. Keep getting back up. If you are fearful of the unknown, sometimes we have to be willing to do it afraid! When you are a parent and especially a parent of a special needs child, with in safe boundaries we also have to be willing to let them fall, fail, struggle… it’s not always easy, but if we can teach them not to give up, keep trying, the end results can be amazing!!