I’ve said these word a lot lately. A certain sweet girl kept telling me that she couldn’t conquer while she struggled with reading.
“I can’t do it,” she would say in a defeated tone, setting down her work and letting her shoulders droop.
“Yes, you can do it,” I answered. “I know you can do it. Keep trying!”
She tends to listen, try again, go for awhile, say she can’t, listen to me again, try again – over and over. She is making progress and that is wonderful to watch.
One of the lovely, yet difficult things I’ve discovered about children, is that whatever you preach to them, seems to come back to get you before long. Like the day that I had them practicing gratefulness, then found myself being served my least favorite food for supper.
But that’s another post.
As I said, my continual refrain of late has been to tell them that they can do things, when they want to quit. Nothing really impossible. Just things that require a little more work than they might feel like they can give it. I’ve said it to several children, but especially one, countless times over the last several weeks. As many times as I’ve said it, I should have expected to be tested on it. I didn’t even consider it.
Not until those children decided they wanted to get me up on a bicycle.
I never did learn to ride nor had I ever even owned a bicycle. I tried for about ten minutes when I was eleven, fell off twice, and never tried again. I had few opportunities, yes, but I didn’t take advantage of the ones I had. Honestly, I didn’t want to get hurt or, worse, fail.
The Marr children have been learning to ride lately and they decided that they want me to learn too. I demurred for awhile, but I had told them about my short trial at eleven. They decided that I should learn now. Then, the same sweet girl who struggles with reading, asked, “Don’t you think you can do it, Rebekah? You should try. I think you can!”
What could I say to that? The bicycle still intimidated me, but how could I use that as a sufficient excuse?
So, I went outside, and got up on the bicycle.
Goodness, were those children excited! My stomach dropped when I looked down at the wheels and handlebars. I tried to steady the bike – and failed. Rosy held it steady, while I pedaled. She held on until I got going, then let me on my own.
I had to restart myself about six times in a quarter of an hour or so. I kept going though, not doing too horribly… until I slammed into a post and went flying through the air, before crashing to the ground. Lesson done for the day.
While tempted to quite altogether, the next afternoon, listening to the begging and cheering of my young teachers, I climbed onto the bicycle again. This time, Lizzie held the bike steady.
By the third day of practice, Lizzie could let go entirely, and I could, with some difficulty, get myself going. Today, no one helped me at all, besides begging me to ride and cheering me on. They take great joy in watching me learn to ride.
Hopefully, I’m learning more than how to ride a bicycle. Not only has this been a good reminder to be willing to practice what I preach, it’s also a good personal reminder, that a little extra hard work and perseverance despite difficulties will eventually be rewarded, be with the ability to read anything or ride a bicycle. In the long run, taking an entire minute to sound out a word or putting up with bruises for a few days when you fall off the bike will be rewarded if you keep going in spite of them.
To the KING be all the glory!