I took my daughter bike riding this afternoon. I hate doing this because it reminds me of my failures as a parent. She is seven and she still needs training wheels. GoofBoy is ten and he hasn’t mastered it without training wheels either. Plenty of kids younger then the little Goofs have mastered bike riding. It would probably help if I rode bikes myself. But I don’t.
The problem is that we don’t live on a quiet street and, more broadly, no one ever lets his or her kids out of sight anymore. So bike riding – like every other activity off of our property requires my supervision. So it just doesn’t happen that often and thus the kids don’t get good at it.
When I was a kid, after some initial instruction (that mostly involved my dad yelling at me) I was on my own. I fell down a lot. But ultimately I got it and was free to bike around the neighborhood and beyond.
Not so much now. Teaching the little Goofs to learn to ride bikes is very much on my to-do list, but that is kind of the problem. It is just another item on my to-do list – along with work and grad school and life.
I have to take them somewhere bike-friendly and supervise. I manage to do this a few times a year. GoofBoy, having lost his training wheels, got discouraged, and never even asks anymore. GoofGirl still has training wheels and loves it – she asks often. When she is going full speed, she yells, “It’s like I’m flying!”
Once they get it down, they will love it – but they can’t get it down without my help and there is only so much time in the day (and sometimes I'm kind of tired).
So while GoofGirl was having a good time peddling around, I was just reminded of one more thing I haven’t done and what she is missing.