Get back on that bike.


You’re a father. Your son is learning to ride a bike without training wheels. You help him onto the seat, and with a light push on his back, off he goes. He pedals for a few feet — success! Wait! He starts to wobble to the side. Will he fall? He falls. He scrapes his knee. He begins to cry.

Suddenly, you are now thrust into the most important moment of your career as a parent: You can grab your son, get ice cream together and call it a day, or you can patch up that scrape, let him cry if he needs to (what good is holding back tears?), and encourage him to get back on that bike and try again. And try again. And try again.

Parents who pick the first choice think they’re being good people by valuing their son’s safety above everything. But these types of parents, due to their agreeable nature, are typically clueless about the long-term consequences of burdening their children with safety. You’re not making your child any safer by revoking them the opportunity to gain some real self-respect – a quality so inductive to dealing with life’s blows that it should be considered a birthright.

By shielding your child from scrapes (assuming they’re not hemophiliac), they “grow” into yet another person who has never tasted even a crumb of personal strength, self-respect, self-confidence – those qualities tasted only by eating from the buffet of obstacles life generously hands us.

Get back on that bike and try again.

And try again.

Largely inspired by scenes like this, which never fail to make me tear up.

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