“The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.” Sloan Wilson
Perhaps the gender caused the unusual quote above. I’ve raised three children and can honestly say that teaching them to ride a bicycle is nowhere on the list of “hardest part of raising a child.” However, I like the idea that support and freedom are things we all need in life.
I want to ride my bicycle: I’m proud of my girlfriend who has started biking to work every morning. In some countries, having a bike is an essential mode of transportation. Several years ago, I spent a lot of time travelling in and out of South Vietnam. In those days, having a bicycle and a motorcycle to own or to borrow were both essential for daily travel. It seemed there were no rules for how one must ride or what could be carried on a bicycle. We saw large pieces of glass, chickens, four to five people, and many other things being transported by bicycle. My husband and I thought it would be fun to put together a slide show (that’s how long ago this was) of the things people could carry on a bike to the tune of Bicycle Race by Queen. Bicycles for these hard-working people were necessary, and yet they did provide a sense of freedom.
Taking a bike out for a walk: It’s a new concept for me, but about twice a week, I see someone walking their bikes instead of walking their dogs. I suppose bikes need some TLC too. Seriously though, some cities don’t provide support for bikers. It does make one wonder how well the bike serves its purpose when for a good portion of the trip, riders are required to get off and walk the bike. When people choose a more healthy mode of transportation, they surely need our support.
When to ride and when not to ride: Each day is full of choices. With this fourth of July coming up, we can thank our forefathers for the liberty they provided us to make our own choices. We are fortunate to live in a country where support and freedom are both valued. It is important, however, to keep questioning how both of these are still being played out in our daily lives.
In life, we all need both support and freedom as do our children. Being people of great thought, it is important to continue to question the amount of freedom and support still being given to us. Do we really have the choice to ride a bicycle? The example of the bicycle is a simple one, but freedom and support reach other parts of our daily lives as well. Is the law for man or is man for the law? A good balance should always be in our minds. Fighting for rights remains as important today as it was for our forefathers many years ago.
Do we still have a choice to ride or not to ride? That is the question.