Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Boy and his Bike

Lesson: Some things are easy to learn... Others take time. Teaching a child to be patient with the things that take time can be stressful!

The past 6 months or so has been filled with tasks that Zilla first deemed to be "impossible". When children get near the age or 6 and prepare for Elementary school they also reach a point where they can physically and mentally learn a number of key skills. The problem we've run into is that that age also comes with some stubbornness. The sturbourness which helps a child not to give up when working on the new skills can be the same sturbourness that stops a child before really giving a new skill an honest try!
With Zilla, learning to read is one of those things. Last summer he was really against any work that encouraged him to read on his own. Now he is reading any hiragana that he sees. He did the same thing with learning to tie shoes. I knew he could do it for a while before he decided he could do it on his own. Today's conquered challenge is being able to ride a bike.
Zilla's journey toward bike riding starts about 5 year ago with a tricycle which was handed down from some friends. The trike was small for a long legged boy so he never really got knack of peddling. When he was 2/3/4 years old he used a balance bike. As he grew he also learned to balance, turn, and brake. He learned about judging speed and distance on that bike. For many kids the transition from a balance bike to a regular kid's bike is a quick and easy one. Zilla, however, had a mental block to get past. From media exposure he had a strong idea that he needed training wheels for a. Long time. I knew he could go without them but convincing him to give it an honest try, without training wheels, took about six months. We tried one training wheel for a while, I raised the training wheels up as high as they would go... He was still riding tilted so a training wheel could catch him... until yesterday!
Yesterday we did a little bargaining and took the training wheels off. It was not easy to convince Zilla to give the bike a few tries. Even after a few runs with nearly no parental help he still was lacking in confidence.
Today when Zilla came home from school one of the first things he asked was if he could try the bike again. Within minutes he was hiking on his own. I don't know what happened during the day but something helped him to clear the mental block and voila! The boy can ride a bike!
And to think, just yesterday, he was sure he'd never be able to do it...

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