The boys are 7 and 8 years old and this past Christmas Santa decided it was time for them to learn how to ride bikes. About 2 years ago we purchased these attachments that would convert our bikes into tandem bikes. They were called co-pilots and would attach to our adult bikes so that the 4 of us could ride together. In the beginning it was cute but I quickly realized the co-pilot wasn’t teaching the boys to balance and in the end I was lugging an additional 80 pounds behind me whenever we rode. So, partly out of frustration and partly because it was time we started the process of teaching them to ride their own bikes.
Secretly, I was worried. I was worried because for one of my boys, nothing ever comes easy. He’s generally not well coordinated and has what I call low-dexterity. This makes the concept of peddling difficult for him to grasp. It also makes his writing messy, learning to play the violin tough, and leaves him quite uncoordinated when it comes to sports. I wanted this to be a success for him but secretly I worried it would be tough and he would shy away from it for good.
My other son is generally the opposite….and I worried his success would leave his brother deflated.
Boy am I glad I was wrong. The one I was worried about took to it quickly. Yes, he had to give himself some pep talks but he got it. He was committed to learning it. He got past his nerves and after about half hour he was able to do it. He’s still learning and can’t ride very far but he did it. For encouragement I would give him a thumbs up sign, comment to him on how much fun it is to ride and quietly tell him in his ear that I was proud to see him stick with it until he got it.
The other…the one I assumed it would come easy for…it didn’t. He cried and whined all the way through it. Can he ride a bit, yes, but it wasn’t the great time I assumed it would be for him. He had to work hard to get it and for a kid who grasps most things easily, this put him outside his comfort zone. I had to force him to keep at it. I had to ignore his whining and push him to do it. I had to caution him to not ruin what should be a fun experience.
One week later, when asking the boys if they wanted to go practice riding their bikes again…guess which one was not interested!