11 August 2011

Riding a big bike

Jamie, my namesake, is seven. She is a tall, loving, athletic,smart and confident little person. That is she is a lot of things I was not at seven or for that matter ever. She is teaching me to be a Christian.

Jamie's dad taught her to ride a bike without training wheels last week. He used a 16" bike with flat tires. Drew (Jamie's dad) is a smart guy. Jamie could simply stand up to avoid falls. Noticing the flat tires, we agreed Jamie and I, that we should take her bike to the local bike shop. The man at the shop said we should replace the inner tubes and sold me a pair of replacements.

As I was taking the wheels off her bike, Jamie found the larger, (rather fancy) 20" bike I had bought some time ago. She asked if she could ride it? I told her it was hers so she could do as she wanted. She can just straddle the 20" bike's frame on tip toes. 20" bikes for girls in America these days do not have step through frames, they have crossbars as do the boy's bikes. Jamie thinks the idea of riding in a dress is "really stupid Grandpa!"

She tried to ride that bike. She fell once, again, and she cried. I told her we would walk it to the long side of the block so she had a nice clear sidewalk. She fell, but I was helping and caught her. She got up and kicked the bike. I stopped her, and told her, "It is never the tool, but it is the fool who causes the problem. You CAN ride the bike. Pick yourself up, pick it up and ride." Jamie cried for a moment, more tears of anger than anything else, straightened out her clothes, brushed back her hair, gave me an angry look, climbed on the bike, let me push and balance her a few yards, and rode the 1/8th mile to the end of the block and back. She arrived with a brilliant ear-to-ear smile.

Remember that triumphant day, when you learned to ride the big bike? Jamie always will remember this one. She can ride! She got her mom to come out to see. They rode together around the block. She even rode in the street with mom for part of the way. She got her uncle and grandma to see too. She organized her kid brother, daddy and they rode to the park to play (1/4 mile roughly) and then back.

Before they took off for the park I had returned to the task of fixing bikes. I had tools to put away.

Jamie came to me and thanked me for showing her she could ride the bigger bike. She showed Gabriel how her brakes worked and how his worked. Then she stopped to talk to her dad about the other much loved but no longer needed 16" bike. Could we save it until one of her mom's friend's daughter is big enough for it? Or can we give it to a classmate who is shorter and younger?

Which made me think of that 10th leper. The one who came back, gave thanks and asked what he could do. Jamie lives into that story. She understands both the need to give thanks and the need to reach back, to help those behind her. She stands in stark contrast to greed, and the horribly common idea that we owe nothing to those behind us. Jamie lives love and never hate.

Both in our Christian life and our political life I think we can all learn something from my granddaughter. Have you thanked God or those in your life who helped? Do you ask who you may have left behind and how you can help them? Are you riding with Jamie, her parents, me (I am learning) and with Jesus?



Christal said...

Loved this post, Dad. I am constantly learning things from my children.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Lovely post, Jim! Even though it occurred 40 years ago, I remember my own triumph on the bike as if it were yesterday--and the fun and joy of watching my kids experience theirs.

Jamie sounds like a great kid. Blessings to both of you.


St Laika's

Click to view my Personality Profile page