Monday, May 4, 2015
Get Back on the Bike!
Learning how to ride a bike without training wheels is pretty intense. I remember my experience, taking off at the top of a hill, and running straight into a lilac bush. Obviously, I remember it well. My dad ran to help me, brushed me off, and said, “Well, let’s try that again. This time, you need to steer away from this lilac bush.” And I did.
My husband and I have tried to teach our oldest son, Alex, how to ride his bike without training wheels for a while now, without success. I have struggled to explain the technique on how to do it, and it has always boiled down to the “feeling” on what to do. “If you feel like you are leaning this way, then move the bars that way. Keep pedaling. Do you feel how you are balanced?” I hold on to his seat as long as I can before I fall because I can’t keep up! And by the time all is said and done, we are all frustrated. I have video from last summer, and Alex almost had it, then fell and he hadn’t tried to ride that bike since.
For a while, I simply couldn’t figure out why neither of us, both educators, could not teach our son how to ride a bike. I was perplexed. What are we doing wrong? Do we need to watch a YouTube video on how to teach your child how to ride a bike? Why is this so difficult?
It has been fear that has prevented this milestone, not his know-how. A fear of failing, a fear of falling down was the biggest obstacle to overcome. The more we pushed, the more he resisted. Alex needed to do this in his own time. We just needed to keep encouraging him.
Well, this past weekend, we were not giving up on this task, and we overcame it! It all started with his younger brother, the more daring of the two, giving it a try. Within a short time, Gus was riding the bike everywhere. Clapping ensued, words of praise shouted, and Alex was intrigued. He couldn’t let his younger brother ride a bike before him! So, outside he went, on a mission to tackle this. I could see in his face that he was still fearful, but persistent. He got on the bike, and there he went! He could do it! No practice required! More clapping and praise was shouted from the rooftop.
The day didn’t go without some turmoil and the fear creeping back in. However, every time it hit, we were there, urging him to keep trying, to keep facing it, to keep getting back on the bike. “We are here to help you succeed.”
Resilience. Persistence. Perseverance. The “never give up” attitude. Fear of any unknown can overwhelm a person. However, with persistence and encouragement, anything is possible. Is it always going to be perfect? No. Are we always going to learn something the first time we try? No. But we are resilient, and we will persevere, because we know that is how we learn.
Do we see this resilience in the classroom? This persistence to keep trying no matter how hard the task? The ability to keep getting “on the bike” after we have fallen so we can keep trying again? The encouragement and structures in place to reward the persistent attitude? The flexibility to accomplish the task when it works for each student? The reward when the task is accomplished?
YES, WE DO!!! And we see it EVERY DAY in our classrooms!!!
Our teachers and students are resilient, persistent, encouraging, and positive through it all. There are tough tasks, tough situations, but teachers and students meet these obstacles head-on, with a positive attitude. Our teachers are NOT afraid to fall off the bike and get back on to try it again. We need to celebrate every step it takes, every accomplishment, every single one. Because resilience is built through persistence, and these are skills necessary to be successful in any venture.
We embody these attributes daily in our schools. Celebrate them!
I applaud every educator, every parent, and every student for their perseverance through the tough tasks, and their uncanny spirit to jump back on that bike and keep trying until the task is accomplished!
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30451996@N00/4505318710">20100409 - Bike Wheel</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>