This morning while edging the yard and trying to avoid the Palmetto Ants that LOVE the ground in front of our mailbox, my son was making his first attempts to ride his bicycle sans training wheels. As he started and stopped and pedaled along the grass next to the driveway, I worked hard to deliver the appropriate amount of encouragement. It's tricky with an almost 6 yo. He needs applause at times like that, but he doesn't want TOO much. I mean, 6 is, after all, almost grown! So tell me I'm doing well, but don't overdo the praise, 'cause a guy's gotta be cool, Mom.
He really did remarkably well, even falling several times without so much as a whimper. Beyond the obvious--oh, my baby is growing up!!--it was a teachable moment for Mom. It isn't as though I haven't learned from my children in the last 9 years, but I think the nature of the lessons may be changing. Whereas before I learned patience, fairplay, completing two-handed tasks with one hand, and how long a human being can go without sleep and still be pleasant, today I learned something different. Within us there is an incredible amount of drive, determination and room for growth, and if we fall off the bicycle, we will never figure out how to ride on two wheels unless we get back up and try again. This lesson makes me uncomfortable. Too often it's easier to give up than to get back up. My son isn't afraid of growing up--is this the key? He doesn't see the responsiblities that await him as he grows; he just sees the new privileges, added fun, different skills, exciting adventures.
"For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, 'I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom.'" ~~Matthew 18:2-4, The Message.