Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Toss away the training wheels!

A couple of nights ago I was trying to help my daughter learn how to ride a bike without training wheels.  It's a difficult thing to explain to another person- it's mostly instinctive when you've been doing it for decades.

I tried to tell her how to turn the wheel, and to keep her speed up, but in the end it's just a matter of doing it.

As a way to help her gain confidence, I first took off the training wheels (at her request) and then told her to just have fun coasting back and forth on the sidewalk.  My thought was that in coasting she might get the feel for balancing.  And, I think that helped.  I saw her coast better and better.  So, as I mentioned yesterday, we went to a parking lot a block from the house for a bigger practice arena.  On our way down the street, she was sitting and coasting and I got a little tired of the slow walk, so I asked if I could push her to go faster.  She said "OK, but don't let go!"

I told her I wouldn't let go until she asked me to.

So, as we turned into the parking lot she said I could let go.  I did, and she actually rode for about 20 feet.  She was very thrilled and wanted to do that again.  So I did, and that time she rode about twice as far.  And the next time she almost went into a fence... but the very next time she took off and rode completely across the whole parking lot.  In minutes she was riding around all over the lot and smiling from ear to ear.

She has the riding down, and is now working on starting without me pushing, and on braking.

It reminds me of trying to help people enjoy liberty.  To those of us who
just do it" it's instinctive- but until a person just does it, how do you explain it to them?

It seems scary.  They are sure they will fall and get hurt.  They are used to the training wheels- which actually make them less safe, but give false confidence.  You can give them a little push, but if you break their trust they'll blame liberty for your betrayal.  In the end, they just have to do it for themselves to see how easy and exhilarating it is.  You can't do it for anyone else- the best you can do is to show them by example that it is possible (and fun!).

Cheer them on and we can all ride together into a better tomorrow.


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