A couple of weeks ago, my husband taught our son how to ride his bike without training wheels.
My son is a lot like is mom and gets scared very easily. So the prospect of falling was not appealing to him. My husband helped him overcome this fear the first day by offering him a piece of chocolate every time he fell. It may not be the most convential approach, but it worked. Chocolate, combined with praise for good falls (if there really is such a thing), brought a stop to the tears and allowed my son to not fear falling.
Now that kid loves to ride his bike with his daddy. He is very excited to go on long bike rides and sometimes doesn’t want to quit.
As I have thought about it, my son is way ahead of me on the getting back up thing. He falls off his bike, says “uh oh,” gets back on his bike and keeps going. I, on the other hand, want to continue to lay on the ground and scream because I failed. Okay, not literally lay on the ground, but figuratively.
When I fail at something I consider important, I want to quit because I don’t think I can do it. If I failed once, that must mean that I can’t do it, right?
But as I think about it, if my husband had let my son give up after the first time he fell, I would not have a three-year-old who was very proud of the fact that he can ride without training wheels. Instead my husband and I kept telling him that he could do it.
As adults, we have lost some or most of the encouragement to keep going that we received as children. If anyone encourages us, it typically has to be us. When we are honest with ourselves, we can only encourage and motivate ourselves so much before we run dry. Then we fail and quit, never accomplishing what we set out to do.
I have been living there a lot the past few weeks. It has not been fun. But I am thankful that even though I may have failed and been knocked down for a while, I can get back up and try again.