A Boy, a Bike, and a Bribe: Father Knows Best?

Photo Credit: Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

Photo Credit: Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

Sweat was running down my…everything. I panted in the hot sun as I ran alongside my son’s bicycle, holding on to the handlebars and seat. As I labored, little Mr. Car Lover, was smiling and looking around from his perch on the bicycle seat, chanting out the names of the different vehicles he saw. “Cadillac Escalade, Honda CR-V, Buick Rendezvous…” I looked down–

HE WASN’T EVEN PEDALING!!!

Argh! Here was my almost 7 year old child, still with training wheels, and no ambition to attempt a two-wheeler. Usually, I believe in letting kids go at their own pace, but there were three problems with this.

1. He was about to need a bigger bike, he was out growing his current model.
2. I was imagining how much harder it would be to run alongside a teenager’s bike.
3. It just seems to me that riding a bike falls into that category of “Things you’re expected to know”.
4. (Who’s counting?) My pride might have played a smallish part.

When his Dad came home one evening, I expressed my frustrations with the whole thing, and so he took matters into his hands. That weekend, he took our son out front and marched back in triumphantly about 20 minutes later, announcing that said son had ridden to the end of the block by himself! “HOW DID YOU MANAGE THAT!?”, I asked incredulously. “Offered him $20 bucks if he could get to the end of the street.”

I was crazed! Not only am I wholly against bribing kids, but he was able to do something I had utterly failed at! And the child wasn’t even very interested in money!

Just the other day, I was reminded of this story which is why I’m telling it now. Looking back, I’d say it’s a good example of the fact that a father’s methods, however different, are not necessarily wrong. In fact, they may be just the thing your child needs. However, I do want to mention that, however effective this was, it’s not something we’ve adopted as a regular practice. 🙂

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