He argued back and panicked when I shared what we were going to do that morning. Fear and self-doubt began to consume him as I searched in the garage for knee and elbow pads. “But what if I can’t? I’m going to fall!” I calmly strapped knee pads to his shaky legs and replied, “You will walk your bike to the school, but you will ride it back home.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I believe in you!”
We strolled to a flat field, and he began to whimper, “I’m going to fall. I’m going to fall.” I crouched down to his level and said, “Yes. You will fall. You will fall once, then twice, and probably a third time. So let’s practice falling first, then we will practice riding.” I held his bike steady as he climbed on and began to pedal. “I’m going to let go now, and you are going to fall.”
He fell to the right and hit the grass. A smile erupted over his face as he began to laugh. “That wasn’t scary! Let’s go again!”
We practiced again, and again. With the fear of falling no longer occupying him, his confidence grew with each length across the field. Within 30 minutes, he was cruising!