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Christian living, Life's Challenges

Learning to Two-Wheel It

Terror on Training Wheels

(Photo credit: Dawn Endico)

Several years ago I taught my daughters how to ride their bikes without the training wheels. Now, training wheels are great for beginners, but sooner or later everyone has to outgrow them.

Unfortunately for the training-wheeled rider, balancing a two-wheeler is harder—and scarier—than it looks. There’s a lot involved that we two-wheeled experts take for granted.

Like the inner ear for instance. Tiny crystals floating around in a labyrinth of semi-circular canals signal nerves to tell the brain where the head is in space. Even the slightest movements send crystals tumbling through the canal, notifying the brain that adjustments need to be made.

Or how about the eyes. The eyes focus on the horizon or some other stationary focal point sending messages along the optic nerve to the brain notifying central command of the exact position of the body in relation to the pre-determined point.

Then there’s the muscles. The hands grip the handle bars, the arms steady the torso, the trunk muscles make tiny adjustments in the location of the center of gravity, and the legs provide the power involved to propel the bicycle.

And all this has to be perfectly coordinated for a body to balance on two wheels.

That’s a lot for a six-year-old to contemplate.

Now all that wouldn’t be too bad except for one small thing that tends to disrupt the whole process—fear. Fear of losing control. Fear of falling. Fear of the cold introduction of flesh to concrete.

Fear clouds the circuitry in the brain and intercepts its messages that all systems are working fine.

So that is the challenge we had to overcome to convince my girls to ditch the training wheels and make the leap from four wheels to two.

The solution? I held the back of the seat to steady the bike while they pedaled and taught their brain and muscles to work in sync.

Oh, they had moments of fear, moments where they suddenly lost control and felt the bike falling beyond their ability to compensate. Their grip would tighten until their knuckles were white, their muscle would tense, and their eyes would widen like saucers as they focused on the concrete below them racing by.

But it was at those times when they had lost control that I tightened my grip on the seat and steadied the bike, keeping them from experiencing what they most feared—falling.

“Trust me,” I would say.  “I won’t let you fall.”

The Christian life is often like learning to ride a two-wheeler. We go peddling through life practicing our careful balancing act when we suddenly lose control. Fear rips at our mind as our spirit tenses and our heart races. We are sure we’re going to fall and brace ourselves for the pain that will ensue.

But then we feel our Father’s grip of grace steady our soul and realign us with His plan.

“Don’t fear,” He says in a calming voice. “Just trust me; I won’t let you fall.”

Remember that God has His hand on your life at all times. He’s there, right beside you, ready and waiting to steady you when you falter.

He never loosens His grip on your heart.


About michaelkingbooks

I write stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. Here I blog about faith, relationships, and genuine living.


2 thoughts on “Learning to Two-Wheel It

  1. You’re a good parent. I still remember when my training wheels came off – although I’m not sure how I still remember this. It was frightening! Almost 30 years have gone by, and I’m still riding a bike, almost daily. It brings joy and interest to my life, it gives me regular exercise, and it gets me outdoors; this is as good for my emotional health as physical. Your children will benefit all their lives from your simple act of teaching them to ride on two wheels.

    Posted by Forrest | April 13, 2012, 11:59 am
  2. Trust can be a frightening thing sometimes. It’s something I struggle with every day. It’s funny how I don’t have a problem trusting my earthly father so much of the time, but when it comes to trusting my heavenly Father, I get a lot more skittish. Oddly enough, I was reading in a book this morning, Come Thirsty my Max Lucado, and the part I read said nearly exactly what this post is about. I guess God’s trying to tell me something. 🙂

    Posted by wmelinda | April 14, 2012, 10:11 am

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