I am going to give an example of my bad parenting. Logan is 8 and still doesn’t know how to ride a bike. I am the worst parent in the world, I know.
I can give you all the reasons/excuses as to why, like when he was three his daddy got in a really bad farm accident and lost his leg. For the next few years my attention was focused on those daily battles of infections, surgeries, an infant (his little sister, Addison) and just balancing life. I could also tell you that our gravel driveway was hard for him to pedal, and the yard was worse.
No matter the reasons, the current reality is that Logan is an 8-year-old who doesn’t know how to ride a bike.
Now that we have more flat space and more time (because we have nothing but time now!), I really want him to learn.
He got a bike for Christmas and we tried a few weeks ago. Some would see it as an epic failure. I just learned that as a big kid, I needed more than just my arms to hold him up on his bike! So, the Easter Bunny brought training wheels.
Off we went again on Easter Sunday to ride bikes.
I have learned so much in this experience! I learned that my husband and I have two very different teaching methods. I recognize that this is going to be a process and we need to start with learning to fall. Andrew says, “he’s 8, he should know how to do it — just go do it.”
But we also now have an 8-year-old who doesn’t want to fall. He doesn’t want to do it scared. He wants it to be just as easy as it is in the video games where you can ride off the jump, break into thousands of pieces and just pop right up again without feeling any pain.
So, this bike riding lesson turned into a lesson about recognizing in life there are going to be things that are hard. There are going to times when you don’t want to do something and it’s going to hurt, and you’re going to want to go home and forget about it. But you still have to do it. Like diabetes. It is going to be hard. It is going to be painful. There is no way that we as parents can take that away from our children. So, we have to stop putting that expectation on ourselves to “make it better” for them.
There is a principle I learned that strikes home in almost every facet of life:
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
There will be hard times. There will be times where you want to give up. But don’t live in there. Don’t feel sorry for yourself or your child for those moments. Create out of them the strength that failure only exists if you stop trying. So, don’t ever stop trying.
This blog post is PART FIVE of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.
The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at email@example.com.
Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.