Live life with no handlebars!
My youngest one loves her bike. Actually, it’s a tricycle with an attached push bar so I can help her along. Recently she started throwing her hands in the air and singing as I push her, “Ride bike. No handlebars, no handlebars.” This stems from my older kids favorite song, Handlebars by Flobots.
For those not familiar with the song, the lyrics start with the singer calling for attention for this same reason. Then he escalates to:
I can take apart the remote control
And I can almost put it back together
And further to:
I can design an engine sixty four
Miles to a gallon of gasoline
And eventually to:
I can split the atoms of a molecule
My older two children have turned it into a game to outdo each other with. The message I pick up from my children, even one not yet three, is clear to me: we are born craving challenges. I find myself far too often saying, “No. Don’t do that.” I have to constantly remind myself of that fine line between protecting my child and allowing them to explore.
The older we get, the more and more we remove from our own pool of possibilities. Eventually we are rushed at end of life to accomplish watered-down items on a personal bucket list. I don’t want to put off living life till the very end, and I don’t want my kids to live that way either.
It’s more than just convincing them to reach for challenges and dream big. I need to live that way myself. If I put limits on myself, it doesn’t matter what I say in a pep talk to them. They’ll limit themselves just from my example. Next time you see me riding with my kids, don’t be surprised to see me with my hands in the air.
Todd Tuell is a work-from-home freelance writer and father of three. His joy is in watching his kids (way better than TV) and in writing fiction for children and teens. He seeks (and occasionally finds) rare moments of peace and clarity at the bottom of a coffee cup (first thing in the morning), in distance running (never first thing in the morning) and with the perfect ending to a novel (late-late at night).
photo courtesy of Flickr/Joe in DC.