I love that I've become known as the mom who will bring fruit to the class parties. I also couldn't have been more proud when I asked my four year old what he wanted to bring for his monthly snack day at school and he replied with Strawberries.
As a parent, I love feeling like my values are rubbing off on the kids. But I also know that means if I'm not being an example for them in a certain area, that too is going to get noticed. And for the last two years, my husband has been bugging me to get on a bike so that our kids would want to get on bikes. I have been using the excuse that we have so many little ones that someone needs to get pushed on a tricycle or that they won't notice because dad's riding and that can be their motivation.
My only real excuse is fear. I've turned it into a good laugh at how uncoordinated I am on a bike, but really, when you run into a parked car, oncoming traffic, and a fire hydrant, riding a bike becomes the last thing you think of doing. Lack of confidence is definitely not something I want rubbing off on my kids.
So you can imagine my anxiety last summer when my four year old, while dad was away, decides he wants to learn to ride without his training wheels. How was I supposed to teach him when I can't really even do it myself?! I mean, I had to think about how to even get the training wheels off. Thankfully, his neighborhood friends were a big help. He watched them and what they were doing and after a few pushes and topples, magically gets it. Excitement and pride filled my heart, until his desire to follow in his friends' bike tracks led to him standing with his bike at the top of a steep driveway saying he wanted to ride down.
As fear flooded back in followed by visions of him with bloody scrapes, I was reminded of a quote I'd read about teaching your children to choose courage over fear. Only I realized that it wasn't my kids that had to be taught that lesson, it was me. His bravery gave me courage to not teach him fear. I chanted under my breath as a I let him go from the top of the hill, like a prayer mantra, "Courage over fear, courage over fear, courage over fear..."
Choosing courage over fear is something I'm so grateful for learning from my kids...a lesson that I'll continue to learn as a parent.