I often hear the phrase “just like learning to ride a bike.” In fact, it came up in my practicum meeting today. I understand the saying; it’s a good saying for when something is complicated, but you just need to keep trying until you get it.
However, when I hear the saying, I always think “So, you’ll send me down a hill and hope I don’t fall over?” That’s how I learned to ride without training wheels. I was pretty young, and I remember being in my grandma’s backyard with my mom at the top of this little hill and my dad at the bottom. My mom would steady me and let me roll down the hill on my bike, hoping that I’d make it to the bottom and my dad would catch me.
Honestly, it is a small hill, not very steep. It was a short ride. In my memory, it is a much longer and steeper hill; it is a grassy Everest.
It reminds me of an Elvira Kurt joke:
She states that our generation can withstand anything. She jokes that her father couldn’t wait to take her training wheels off before he shoved her down the hill, with a cheerful “See ya!”
I think that learning that way gave me a bit of fortitude and a sense of humor. I know I fell a few times. Learning by trial and error gave me the mindset that it is OK to fail at things occasionally as long as I try again. I got back up, picked the grass off my elbows, and tried again. I knew that my mom wouldn’t let go unless she believed that I could do it. I knew that eventually, I’d make it to the bottom and my dad would catch me. In fact, sometimes, I’m very aware that my dad is still catching me right before I fall, just now it’s not a bike, but life.