My Kid Can't Run Fast, But She Sure Can Ride a Bike

My Kid Can't Run Fast, But She Sure Can Ride a Bike

How one mom and dad discovered their child's struggle, and then her strength.


By: Lorraine Allen

Kids take time to find their own stride and their own skills and passions. While our daughter loved her toddler soccer classes from ages 2.5 to 4, after that our peanut seemed intimidated by the larger kids’ speed, drive, and determination. Suddenly, she would just stand there, frozen. When we asked why she did not try to run, get the ball, or kick it anymore, she just said, “I don’t want to take the ball from someone. I don’t want to hurt their feelings!”

We suspected she was also feeling that she just couldn't keep up, because in running drills, though she tried really hard, she was the last kid. Always. It became painful to watch her start to feel shy, then ashamed, of her shortcomings. Then she appeared to start to lose her desire to run at all, which was something she had always loved doing. (She often chose to jog to school a mile each day.)

More from P&G everyday: Teaching Children to Learn from Failure

We did not know the best thing to do, but one thing was clear: It made no sense to keep taking her to soccer practice, when there was so much else to try instead. So we got her a bike, with training wheels, and she loved riding it instantly. She had ridden it maybe 10 times when one day she asked to try her friend’s bike, which had no training wheels. My husband helped her by holding the seat while she started to pedal, but it was obvious right away that she had her balance. “I got this,” she said “Let go!” We could not believe it, but just like that, in the blink of an eye, at the age of 4, our kid taught herself to ride a two-wheeler!

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She wanted to rush home and take those training wheels off her bike right away. We did, and she’s been biking ever since, two miles to school and back each day, and more on weekends. She’s a total pro, and we’re so proud and excited that she has found a fun, healthy activity to enjoy every day -- something she does well that makes her feel pride, instead of shame and doubt. As a mom watching and helping my kid grow, I'm always reminded that one failure or challenge, no matter how big, can always lead to another, far greater success, if given the chance. It’s my job to cheer on the child and catch her when she falls, not to worry if she can't outshine everyone all the time. She’s a superstar, just like every other kid.

What tips do you use to help your kids figure out where they excel?



Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 5-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

Image ©iStock.com/Maica

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