Walking on the trail today I saw a family riding their bikes together. One son was in the lead, he couldn’t have been any more than four years old. Helmet strapped securely to his head, knees and elbows padded with sturdy fiberglass caps, bike wobbling slightly as he pumped his legs furiously up and down, you could see his chest puffed with pride that his father had appointed him leader of the pack. “Son, you can go as fast as you want, I promise, your mom and I can keep up,” he called ahead as the family passed me on the trail.
That moment stayed with me all day. It reminded me of being young, riding around the neighborhood with my family on our 10-speeds, that had to be quite a sight. As a child, I never questioned my parents’ faith in me and my ability to lead. I learned to “pump my pedals” and never fear the role of leader when called. As an adult, I still enjoy their support in my endeavors.
These moments are so important for the development of a child’s confidence. It is wonderful to see this type of parenting in action today. We hear so much about abuse and mistreatment of children. We see the stories of children suing parents, parents resenting the loss of their “freedom” after having kids. We see custody battles turn ugly as parents fight over who gets whom and when while the children wait for the courts to tell them who to love and how often. Then I have a moment like today where I’m reminded that some parents are still working to put their children’s needs ahead of their own. There are parents who are making the time to be good parents.
My husband and I have not had any children of our own yet, and honestly, I don’t know if that’s in the cards for us or not. But if that day does come, I hope that we’ll remember to take out those bikes and tell our son or daughter that they can lead the way and stride as fast and far as their legs can carry them.
~ Marta C. Youngblood