What gives us the courage to try again? I think courage requires “gumption” – an innate ability to not be deterred. I suppose whether that is instinctual or learned could be debated. I know that encouragement inspires courageousness because my son proved this to be true.
About two years ago, we tried to teach him to ride a bike. He fell off one time, stood up and said,
“I’m done”. “I don’t want to learn how to ride my bike”
This was a hard statement for his bike-riding mom to accept but I knew it to be true. He was just not interested, he didn’t care, he tried once and didn’t like it so he was done. No 2nd chances for him. He’s just that kind of kid – he’d rather sing or draw or build something creative with Legos than ride a bike.
We didn’t give up on him. I mean, every kid has to learn to ride a bike. His brother learned how to ride his bike and got good enough to go on “mountain bike trails” but he was still not interested. We talked about how fun it is to ride a bike and all the cool places we could go and ride bikes.
For two years we talked about riding bikes just about every chance we could get. Last Christmas, he got a “Big Wheel” so he could go out and ride with no fear of falling off – he loved that! He could finally go out and ride with his brother! It was fun!
We were making progress but he was still not interested in riding a two wheeled bike.
About a month ago, I had an idea. I had to SHOW him how much fun it was to ride a bike without him having the fear of falling off. He was too big for training wheels on a bike but he could ride a tow bike – it is basically just the pedals and back wheel of a bike with fixed handle bars that attaches to my bike via a curved attachment. (similar to this photo)
With this, he can’t fall down but he could just ride!
So, I found one at a bike shop, explained to him what it was and asked him if he’d like to give it a try – he agreed.
I wish I could accurately describe to you the feeling of joy my son had the fist time he rode that tow bike! The “WOO-HOO’s” of happiness and delight and his yelling,
“THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!”
He rode on that tow bike for about a week – on solid roads and dirt roads – and he loved every.minute.of.it! Then we transitioned him to a regular bike. And guess what happened?
The first time I let go of his seat, he fell down. Hard. He was hurt and frustrated and mad.
BUT, he got back on that bike and tried again. He fell again and he tried again. He wore a long sleeved shirt and sweatpants AND gloves in July, in the South but he didn’t give up.
He was courageous. He was determined. He set a goal to learn how to ride that bike on his own by his 8th birthday.
It took him FIVE days but he did it! He not only rode the bike without falling, but he learned how to start the bike from a stopped position AND he learned how to brake (without skidding the tire) and turn around. Was he scared to learn how to ride his bike?
Of course, he was – he knew what it felt like to get hurt. BUT, he also knew what it felt like to RIDE and he wanted that for himself.
Recently, I have read quite a few blog posts about courage. For whatever reason, it seems to be a popular topic. Here’s my take away from what I have read –
The willingness to overcome fear and make change occurs when the courage to do so is greater than the fear.
It does take courage to overcome fear. It takes courage to move out of our comfort zone, too. Sometimes, to have courage also means to just never, ever give up.
Was my son encouraged to overcome his fear? Of course he was but he had to overcome it when HE was ready. On his terms. His willingness to try again was courageous.
So how do YOU become courageous? When the willingness to overcome fear is greater than the fear itself. How do you get to that point? You talk to people who have been there and done that. You learn what’s its like on the other side of that fear.
You get back on that “bike” and try again – even if it means you may fall a few more times.
What is something in your life that you have said, “I’m done”. What can you try again?
What are you waiting for???
Go change that.