“You promise you will catch me before I fall right?” I asked my dad as he walked besides me.
We were walking on a narrow cement path that was sandwiched by a grass hill and a baseball field. In front of us lies the elementary school and park where community members enjoy on the weekends.
For a brief moment, the other children playing in the park distracted me, until I noticed the scratches and cuts on my arms and legs that were not protected by the pads. Hearing the sound of the ticking stokes only helped speed up the rate of my heart. We slowly came to a stop at one of the basketball posts and put down our bags.
“Put on your helmet and safety pads, bud”
He handed me my navy blue helmet as well as the matching set of elbow and kneepads.
“You still haven’t answered my question. Can you promise to catch me before I fall?” I inquired in a more serious tone this time.
“I can’t promise you that,” he responded.
I stared at him. Worried.
“But I can promise that I’ll be there to pick you up again, and again, and again, until you no longer need me to” he smiled in encouragement.
The pavement in front of me began to look like an obstacle course, with badminton nets, basketball courts, and tetherball poles all trying to block me. I was intimidated, but at the same time, I had a burning desire to learn and ride a bike. No more envying other kids!
From my peripheral, I could see my dad watching from a near distance.
“Can you please just catch me? I really don’t want to fall. It hurts!”
He approached me and rested his hand on my shoulder.
“If you don’t allow yourself to fall, you won’t have the opportunity to get back up. That’s how you learn, by trial and error. And that’s what I want you to experience. Rising up after you fall is a challenge, and it takes perseverance, but when you learn how, you will succeed.”
He pushed me forward, and I fell off after a few minutes. I stood up and he pushed me forward. A couple minutes later I fell off. Again, and again, and yet again, the time I spent on the bike increased.
In less than a week, I landed on my feet.