Like riding a bike…

Lee family photo. Used with permission.

My niece’s daughter recently showed me her new skill of riding a two-wheel, grown-up bike. It was quite the feat for her as it was a new skill. Another in a checklist of to-do’s as she grows up. As I looked at her squiggly tire tracks in the dirt I thought there were a few lessons for us in this experience as well.

You have to develop balance

It goes against the laws of nature really. At least, that is what it feels like. My body is going to balance on these two wheels? And not fall? Seems improbable until you learn how to balance.

If we were to look at our life on the outside looking in we might ask similar questions. You want me to go to school, get a job, be a mother, be a friend, be a wife, be a sister, learn new skills, meet all the demands of life, and still be happy and sane? Doesn’t seem probable. Until you find a balance. Yes, you can be all those things but not all at the same moment. You learn to make priorities. You decide what you need to keep on your bike and what you need to let go. In short, you learn to balance.

Unfortunately, falling is part of the learning process

If you are worried about falling you are never going to ride a bike. You will psych yourself out. At some point, you have to accept the fact that riding a bike is worth the risk and you are going to fall. But you also keep getting up and getting back on the bike.

The more times around the sun you know that not everything is going to work out. There are times you are going to fall. There are times you are going to get hurt. There are times you may even feel broken. But by now, hopefully, you also know there is joy and happiness. Laughter and love. All those things that make it worthwhile to get back up and keep going. We may wish for a better way but those scars help make us who we are so unfortunately, falling is part of the learning process.

Practice and perseverance are key

One morning, she’d get on her bike and make it so far. Time after time, she jumped off or crash-stopped at a certain spot. It was a stretch with a little bit of an incline. She would turn the bike around and ride back to her starting point. After turning the bike around again, she would try that stretch. All day long, she made it to about the same spot and crashed. Again and again, she would turn around so that she could make another attempt. She never made it past that spot – that day.

The next day though, all of a sudden, she made it past that spot like she had always been doing it. Her crash-spot from the day before was forgotten. In the matter of a day, she had become a pro and could make that incline. Practice helped move her farther and farther.

So it is with us. Anything we do in life takes practice. Have that hard task you are working on? Don’t give up. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep working at it. Who knows what you will accomplish tomorrow? Life takes practice and perseverance. That is the little secret of life. It all takes practice.

Those are just three lessons I thought of that apply to bike riding and becoming a fully-functional, contributing adult. What are some other similarities you can think of?

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