When my son was about five years old, we decided it would be a good time for him to learn to ride a bike. He knew how to ride a tricycle in our backyard when he was younger so we figured it wouldn’t be such a big deal to ride a bicycle.
We started off with training wheels and it took a little while to teach him that he needed to pedal in order to move the bike. He was eventually able to ride slowly with the training wheels on. The next step was to take one of the training wheels off but to do that we wanted him to wear a helmet.
So it begins…
And this is where the real challenge began. He was fine learning to ride the bike without the helmet but was shouting all kinds of things with the helmet on. Back then, when he didn’t like something he would say, “Want water, I want water”.
We would go on a family walk with him on his bike and he would be shouting “Want Water, I want waaaaaterrrr!” at the top of his lungs. He also made all kinds of noises that sounded like we were torturing him. Heaven knows what the neighborhood thought every time our family went for a walk!
This went on for a month and our son (Tim) was still yelling the whole time that we were walking around the neighborhood. My husband said to me, “Maybe we should forget about it, maybe it’s not worth it for him to ride his bike.” I was surprised at this comment because usually I’m the one that is ready to throw in the towel but my husband is the one that sticks to things.
A line in the sand...
For example, pre-diagnosis Tim loved to go to the beach and play in the sand and water. A year later, he didn’t want to take his socks off at the beach or go into the water. In fact, he started shouting if you tried to take his socks off and bring him into the water. My husband said this is crazy and took him into the water with Tim screaming his head off.
He took him in where Tim couldn’t stand in the water so he had to hang onto my husband. We were at a crowded beach and I stayed on the beach with our daughter. Everyone could hear my son screaming and crying.
Eventually he stopped screaming and I know it sounds crazy but he was back to loving the sand and water. He was mad at my husband for the rest of the afternoon. But he has loved the beach and water ever since. I reminded my husband about that day when he mentioned giving up on the bike rides.
Sticking with it…
We decided to give it a couple more weeks and then we would take a break from it if Tim was still yelling. By that time, Tim had stopped yelling and was fine with putting on a helmet while riding his bike. We couldn’t even pinpoint when he had stopped.
That’s the way a lot of things have been with him. We start working on something that seems insurmountable at the beginning. When we are in the middle, we think of giving up but then if we push on for a little bit, he surprises us.
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