If there is any message I want to give my daughter it is that effort and hard work pay off. I want her to know that whatever she puts her mind to she can accomplish, but that it takes perseverance. Talent is WAY overrated and that anyone can be good at just about anything with the right effort. Now I realize that no matter how much effort and time I put into it I will never be a WNBA player...but I firmly beleive that it isn't too late for her.
This message was put to the test earlier this week when her bicycle suddenly appeared and I suggested that she learn to ride it. I realize that this task would have been much easier had we chosen to tackle it 3 years ago, but she never really was that into it. I mean she would toodle around on her training wheels, but even that was hard, and within the past year she completely gave up and had no desire to even try. I wrote about a conversation that I had with her regarding the subject here.
A friend of mine suggested that we lower the seat, take off the training wheels, and just let her push herself around with her feet trying to lift her feet every now and then to practice her balance without having to pedal. Then as she got better at balancing raise the seat up and have her try to pedal.
As we unpacked the bicycle, and realized that it would need to live on the patio because it wouldn't fit into the garage I decided to give my girl another chance to learn the lesson of effort. I took off the training wheels, I pumped up the tires, I lowered the seat, and I called her outside. After seeing her look of terror and wiping her tears of protests our conversation went a little like this:
Me: Bella, remember how whenever you have a problem or something that you are having trouble accomplishing we always talk about how good you are at never giving up and working hard until you do whatever it is that you want to do.
Bella: Uh-Huh (snif snif)
Me: Well learning to ride a bike is something that will a little effort and hard work you could be good at.
Bella: I don't want to learn to ride a bike.
Me: I know that you would love to ride a bike if you just learned how.
Bella: I am too old to learn to ride a bike. Learning to ride a bike is for babies, I should already know how to do it.
Me: (geez kid...you are making this teachable moment so much harder than it needs to be) Well sweetheart it is never too late to learn something that will make you happier once you learn it. I know that you would be happier if you knew how to ride a bike. All it would take is just some effort. I know you could do it.
Bella: Well dad would be really proud of me, he has always wanted me to learn how. Maybe I could just give it a try and then surprise him.
Me: (phew) Great idea Bella.
Well she worked in the driveway a couple of days ago for about 15 minutes with Rich and then gave up and came inside. Today she, unprompted, went back outside and about 15 minutes later came in and told me to come watch. She was riding her bike, pedaling and all. We raised the seat, went to the empty basketball court across the street and in no time she was pedaling along. She was having a blast and told me how much fun riding a bike was. She can't wait to surprise her dad.
When we got inside I asked her when I could tell her, "I told you so". She told me that I was right, riding a bike IS a lot of fun. I told her that wasn't the "I told you so" I was talking about. She smiled at me and I knew that another lesson about never giving up was learned.
- A Ro