As easy as riding a bike

We’ve spent a lot of time the past two days teaching my two youngest children how to ride their bikes without training wheels.

We should have taught my 6-year-old last summer, or even the summer before. But he wasn’t interested. And when he isn’t interested, he can’t be convinced otherwise. It’s pretty much a losing battle.

Earlier this week, the kids were visiting another family and realized their 4-year-old had mastered his two-wheeler. Suddenly, our 6-year-old and 4-year-old were ready to give it a try.

The 6-year-old picked it up almost immediately. His only problem is that he likes to chat. And look around. And enjoy nature. And talk about his day. And discuss the world’s problems. And look at mailboxes. And trees. And cars.

His lack of focus tends to cause him to swerve. He usually makes it past a few driveways and then ends up bumping into a bush or riding into the grass. We finally put him in the middle of the street and gave him a specific target on which to focus.

“Do not look at ANYTHING other than that yellow fire hydrant!” we instructed.

My daughter has a different issue. She loves the fact that her 8-year-old brother is so kind and patient that he will hold onto her seat and run down the sidewalk pushing her. The second he lets go, she takes her feet off the pedals and swerves to a stop.

She simply doesn’t believe she can keep going unless he is holding on to her seat. Her bike-riding struggles are completely in her head.

It can get frustrating. As a parent, I know they can do it. I know what is holding them back. And I so want them to overcome their fears and their distractions so they can be successful. I can see how close they are. And yet, they cry out:

“I CAN’T do it! I just CAN’T!”

Watching them attempt to ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk these past few days, I have realized that I am just like them.

In a few areas of my life, I have checked out mentally because I’m not interested. Like my son, no amount of convincing is going to make a difference.

In other areas, I am so distracted. My mind has been swirling with serious thoughts, ideas, suggestions, but I can’t seem to make sense of anything. I have a half dozen blog posts waiting to be finished, but I can’t think of the words to write. Friends from other areas of my life are excitedly telling me about their plans and goals. I listen intently, but my brain can’t seem to really absorb what they are saying.

And like my daughter, there are areas of my life where I’m just doubting myself.

I want to be like my son yesterday when he fell down on his bike and skinned his knee. He started screaming at me: “It’s all your fault! You TOLD me to ride on the sidewalk! You TOLD me to do it!”

But who can I scream at?

My husband took the kids off to a big parking lot for a couple of hours last night. When they came home, both my son and daughter walked in the house and said, “Mommy, I have successfully completed my bicycle training.”


Yep. They learned how to start and stop on their own and ride successfully in straight lines and circles. But how?

“Well, the parking lot was just so big and wide open. We didn’t have to worry about bumping into anything.”

And you know what? I guess that’s where I am right now, too. Just riding around in circles in the parking lot. I’m not really accustomed to zooming around without a destination. And I know it’s not a permanent condition, but it’s where I need to be right now.

It’s really not so bad. Just riding around in circles. Not going anywhere. Just enjoying the ride.

How about you? Have you successfully completed your bicycle training? Or are you distracted? Lacking in confidence? Or just enjoying the ride?

Don’t miss a post. Subscribe in a reader!


  1. My 14 yr old son is learning to wear contact lenses. It's hard to put them in his eyes. It's hard to trust himself to do it. He says, "I can't do it." and, "I do exactly what you do and it doesn't work." I can see what he's doing wrong, I know what to do he just needs to believe in himself. Sometimes I know Heavenly Father is saying to me, "just trust yourself, I'm here to help you, you can do it." and I keep saying I can't, I can't.

  2. Hey Emily… love the picture of your everyday kids… very cute!My son who will be 8 next month just figured out & completed his bicycle training last summer. His sister figured it out while I was at Convention – she was very excited to tell me that she figured it out but also had a bleeding owie on her leg (the starting/stopping were an issue that first day). She now has it completely figured out and is very proud of it too!As for me, that riding around in circles thing kinda describes what's going on with me too… have some ideas of where I want to go but then this happens or that happens or I play on the computer or whatever else pops up… and before you know it, another month has gone by. Patience & time will help me figure out what's going on… just a matter of when…I like the analogy tho… thanks!Laurel

  3. Laurel, glad you could relate. I was worried I was going to be hanging out here all by myself… a lonely, pointless, aimless person… (haha)How exciting that your daughter learned to ride her bike while you were gone! Hooray!

  4. I have been thinking about this analogy all day. Thank you for sharing it. I keep thinking about the areas where I am easily distrated. I also have areas of self-doubt. This was a beautiful post. I love the reminder that we have "parking lot" seasons. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I loved it.

Leave a Reply