When I dropped Ava off at school for her first day of first grade… well… I cried.
If you know me, then you know “duh” cause I’m a bit tenderhearted I am.
But as I spent the day thinking about her and reflecting on my first grade days, a certain memory jumped out.
I remember a birthday party I went to where the main activity was riding bikes.
Bikes I couldn’t ride ’cause I was still rockin the 4 wheel bike.
1 in the front, 3 in the back… commonly referred to as training wheels.
So as all my friends jumped on and took off, I remember jumping on and quickly coming up with a story,
“Guys! I’m not use to this bike, it’s got weird pedals, I’ll catch up to ya’ll in a sec, once I… uh… fix the pedals”
I was so embarrased.
I remember sitting there by myself for a long time waiting for the other kids to come back.
Then as they headed back over the hill, I picked back up with the dramatic conclusion of my made up story…
“Whew, where’d y’all go? I couldn’t find y’all but boy I sure had fun riding with no training wheels cause I mean, that’s what I do these days… just me, the open road and no training wheels. Freeze-Tag anyone?!?”
Needless to say when I got home, I made sure that never happened again and had my dad loose the wheels.
Back to Ava.
In light of memory lane, when she got home, I loaded her up with body armor and told her it was time to “try.”
She was nervously excited, but I told her if we don’t try we’ll never know and never learn.
And of course I told her all the comforting things a dad tells his child, as I walked her across the street to a huge yard with deep grass and plenty of room to wreck 😉
What happened next is the video above.
I had NO IDEA she would nail it the FIRST TIME!!!
It was an incredible day that I thank God for letting me be available to experience with her.
Of all the important things in life, as Andy Stanley says, I don’t want to miss out on the one job that’s unique to me…
Being her dad.
However, this whole experience has me asking myself this question today
“what are the things in life I could be missing out on, because I’m still leaning on training wheels?”
Wheels that are keeping me in a shallow sense of freedom and joy.
Maybe wheels in life that are keeping me suspended in fear without realizing it, because life is easier to balance and manage with these wheels on… it’s predictable, comfortable and less risky.
How about you? It could be anything really, that’s become a training wheel in your life.
Maybe a dream unrealized or a gift you’ve kept to yourself.
Maybe it’s something your heart beats for, but rejection has kept you downshifting, letting other people’s opinions decide for you.
It could be a loved one that’s no longer with you and you don’t know how to move on or you’re afraid to.
Whatever it is, the wheels are there to get us up and going… we all need them for a time…
But those training wheels aren’t the REAL ride and aren’t meant to be forever.
Trying can be scary. Trying could mean failing.
But failing can lead to learning and growing if we let it.
I’m not saying to ignore wisdom or wise counsel… I’m hoping this is being read with a base level of common sense.
Let me be clear, I took precautions with Ava 😉
I had her covered in a helmet and pads and she had been “training” for a while.
It was time.
I didn’t want my daughter to fall or get hurt, but I knew the joy that awaited and that it was worth the risk level.
When I watch that video, and see the enthusiasm and joy on her face and when she says, “I DID IT DADDY!”
I believe that’s a picture of the “more” we were made for.
It’s that moment when freedom is realized and all the pain of falling becomes worth it.
So keep working hard, pushing through, leaping and believing… cause you’ll never know if you don’t try.