Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Leo, breaking in his new spring bicycle

I'll let you in on a little secret... as long as you don't tell my son Leo... okay?

Children are unique. They not only come in all shapes and sizes, but they develop personally in such unique ways. In Leo's case, the area he actively made a choice not to advance was his bicycle-riding skills. Whenever asked, Leo preferred to ride his Razor (scooter) over his bike. I tempted him to learn to ride his bike without training wheels with such promises as "a bike ride to McDonald's for a kid's meal" - but to no avail. And so the bike sat throughout the summer... in the garage and with its training wheels still on...

Fast forward to this spring and Leo decided last week, "I want to ride my bike without training wheels." I quickly agreed before he changed his mind. Taking the training wheels off, I instructed him on how to balance, push off and most importantly, how to stop. I promised I would keep hold of his bike until he felt confident enough for me to let go. What a wonderful rite of passage for any parent.

We started down the street and we hadn't gone but once down the sidewalk when I decided it was time - without Leo knowing - to let go of the bike. And let go I did and on he went riding and riding and riding...

The only area where Leo had some difficulty, which was due partly to my lack of instructions, was keeping the bike going. Once he got going he was fine, but "getting going" was an obstacle. I said to him, "Leo, it's a fact of Nature. You have to keep pedaling or you'll fall over..." Assimilating that information, Leo was well on his way (seen above) and hasn't looked back for those training wheels since.

You know, it most likely is a fact of Nature, in all aspects. You have to keep pedaling or you'll fall over...

Stop exercising and eating healthy; you may find yourself quickly falling off your normal energy level.

Stop exercising your ability to be nice to others; you may quickly find yourself falling into the habit of anger, aggression and jealousy.

Stop exercising your ability to appreciate the importance of human beings and their individual journey; you may find yourself falling into the practice of treating everything as the "bottom line" or a statistic.

Stop exercising your ability to balance your intellect with wisdom; you may find yourself quickly addressing all of Life's situations as problems to be solved rather than an opportunity to witness the majesty of the Divine in action.

And stop exercising your desire to pray and meditate; you may find yourself falling into a personal isolation and a growing lack of hope.

It can go on and on... keep pedaling or you'll fall over. It was true in the 1600s when Sir Isaac Newton conceptualized his Laws of Motion and it remains true today. His first law of motion says that an object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force.

Love and you will continue to love. Be apathetic and you will continue not to care. Keep your mind active and it will remain active. Still your heart and allow it not to care and it will remain cold and unfeeling.

Perhaps it's there, on our own bicycle, where we all first learned one of Life's most important lessons. Keep pedaling or you'll fall over. And in bicycle riding, as well as in Life, we know how painful the alternative can be.

hoedl's haven
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