Friday, April 6, 2007

What a Great Week

In addition to this being Holy Week and things going fairly well on the work front, I had a real treat last Friday. Our 9-yo daughter has outgrown her bike and I promised that when she learned how to ride without training wheels that we would get her a new one. Well, that time came last weekend when I came home a bit early to be greeted by "Dad, can you teach me how to ride my bike for real?" With excitement and nervousness, off came the training wheels and we headed to the sidewalk. She was ready, I could see it in her eyes. There's a ton of front wheel wobble when you're first responsible for the stability of the bike, but she seemed to be doing quite well as long as I kept her steady. "Ok, this time we're going to do the same thing, but once you've got it steady, I'm going to let go. I'll be right behind you, but let's see if you can do this all by yourself. Are you ready?" Big smile. Yes! Down the sidewalk we go, and she starts to get it steady. I let go and the wobbling starts. "You can do it, I'm right here, keep going!" Pretty soon she was going as fast as I could short of sprinting, and without further word, I stopped. There goes my little girl! (Ok, not *that* little really, but you get the idea.) When she cleared the neighbor's driveway I cheered and I could hear "I'm doing it!!" There was no looking back, no stopping, and she went straight to the end of our very long block. (While I normally hate jogging, this one I wasn't going to miss.) We came back, gathered Mom and her three brothers, got the video camera, and she displayed her new prowess for all. Afterwards she game me the biggest hug, with a huge smile, and said "I'm so proud of myself, Dad, thanks so much!" Wow, what a 'Dad' moment. I remember how neat that moment was for me as a kid, but I really had no idea how special it was for the parent too. Reflections?

- When confidence and fear are big factors, don't rush things. Many kids are expert bike-riders by age 9, but that didn't matter to either of us. What mattered was that she felt she was ready, and I was available and encouraging.
- "Letting go" was a foretaste of what would come later as kids mature and get ready to leave the nest. It's difficult and scary for both, though neither wants to admit it outright, yet quite satisfying, especially if you work on it together.
- One sows, one waters, and another reaps, but the Lord gives the growth. The only thing I felt bad about was that here I was, soaking in the glow of a special moment, while my wife had been the one getting the bikes out, watching them, riding with them, at least 95% of the time over the past four years. Sometimes, like in evangelism, we're in the right place and the right time and see the immediate harvest - but remember others have gone before you to plant a seed and work the ground - and in any case, glory to God for how he grows His children whom He loves.
- Mom rocks! She has always been encouraging to me about spending time with the family, and has been selfless in helping them have fun as well as develop. I think too this is a foretaste of letting go, as I find myself tending to look forward to the kids growing up and becoming more independent, while Dawn cherishes the smiles of youth in the park and on their tricycles. Both are good - and I'm lucky guy for getting to be a part of it.

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