Sunday, July 09, 2006

Finding a balance

Rowena has drawn a racing track on the road outside our house (it's a very quiet little street and the children living on it often play out there) for her and Leo and their friends to race on with their bikes. It reminded me of an experience we had recently of waiting till our children are ready to learn a new skill.

Just before the beginning of winter I tried to teach Leo to ride without training wheels. I pushed him on Robbie's old BMX, and although he could keep upright, he couldn't get the hang of steering as well. He wasn't keen on it and I didn't want to push him (both metaphorically and literally) so he went back to riding his little bicycle, which has training wheels and is smaller than the BMX.

About a month ago, Steven (dh) was tinkering around with his tools outside while Leo happened to be riding up and down on his little bike. I had a brainwave and asked Steven to take the training wheels off Leo's little bike to see whether he could manage on that one. Then I went shopping. When I came back a couple of hours later, not only could Leo ride the little bike confidently, he was also doing tricks which Rowena had taught him, like one foot off the pedal. The next day he graduated to the BMX and we put the training wheels back on the little bike so Adrian could use it.

For me this is yet another of the many situations in the lives of my children where pushing them before they were really ready just made them unhappy and it was much more uncomplicated to wait a little longer before giving them a teeny little bump and watch them go soaring out of the nest.

No comments: