This summer I worked really hard to teach our 4 and 5 year old daughters how to ride their bikes. At first they protested, because they were perfectly comfortable with their training wheels. But I insisted and I threw those training wheels away…I chucked them!
It’s been about 6 weeks since they were last on their bikes (as they have been busy with school, clubs and sports.) But we had a beautiful fall weekend here in GA. So, the kids and I put on some sweats and headed outside for some bike riding. Before the school year started, I think they were about 90% there! They could ride the bikes. But I was still running along side them and they could not start on their own.
Our 4 year went first and she confidently pedaled down the street. I told her to slow down because I could not keep up. She was like I got this mommy! And then she crashed into the curb. That was the first time she’d ever fallen off the bike. And even though she was not physically hurt (no broken bones, no scrapes, nothing) she was devastated. She was crying crocodile tears and insisting on going home. She did not want to get back on that bike.
After inspecting her and letting her get a short rest, I made her get back on the bike because I did not want her last thought of the bike to be of the crash. And, I did not want her think it would be OK to quit after one set back.
From time to time, our kids need to know what it feels like to fall…..to fail. It’s not going to kill them. It will only make them stronger. We do them a disservice when we are always putting them in situations where they can only win. And, when they don’t know what it feels like to lose. As parents, we can’t run along side them all of their lives. And you are not going to be there to pick them up and to kiss their boo boos after every fall.
So, while I am happy to see my kids win. I am OK with them falling, losing, not getting picked from time to time. As there are lessons to be learned for them, like:
- Feel good that you tried your best. Or,
- You know you don’t not practice, so why do you think you should be a starter or the best player on the team. Or,
- Let this motivate you to practice and try harder, because next time you will do better. Or,
- Well, I am glad you tried this. Now we know this is not for you. Or,
- Mommy loves you. Because, some times the only you can do is to encourage them and let them know that you love them.
Can you remember what it felt like to fall off of a bike? Of course you do, because back in the day you were not outfitted in all of those pads and your parents probably were not running along side your bikes for weeks while you learned. Can you remember not getting picked for a team? Can you remember not getting accepted into a program, a college? Or, how about when you first started interviewing for jobs after you graduated high school or college, did you get turned down?
I want my kids to be able to handle all of those situations, if they come, and to be confident in themselves and to know that they will be OK.
BMWK – When your kids fall/fail, How do you encourage them to keep trying new things? What do you hope they learn by “falling” from time to time? What have you learned?
Each new day provides you with an opportunity to have special moments with your family.
Disclosure: This post is part of a series that is sponsored by Hallmark and the Life is a Special Occasion campaign. All opinions and editorial content expressed are my own.
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