Perseverance: A Tuesday Slice of Life

My daughters are still working on balance . . .

Placing my hands on the handlebars, I lifted the small white bike from the gravel.  Small whimpers quietly escaped my daughter’s lips, making their way into my ears as I dusted the dirt and small stones from her pants.  “You okay, honey?” I asked, keeping my tone low.  She nodded, gently wiping her nose.  Looking up, I watched as her two friends expertly cruised on their bikes, maybe twenty yards away, around the tree-lined parking lot.  “You’ll get this, baby,” I whispered.  “It just takes time.”  She nodded again.

Meanwhile, I looked on and observed my younger daughter setting up her pedals, getting ready to try again.  For over thirty-five minutes now, the four girls had been biking around the empty bus lot; two girls who knew how to ride, two who desperately wanted to learn.  Living on a road with no sidewalks and on which traffic often traveled at high speeds has not made for friendly bike-riding territory.  Consequently, my girls have yet to achieve that magical milestone of balance.  Unlike their two friends who had come to visit with their bicycles.

But I watched, as time after time again, my girls tried; sometimes alone, sometimes with help from me, sometimes with help from their friends.  “Here, try this.”  “You want me to push you?”  “Try to keep your weight in the middle.”  “You almost had it!” And yes, frustration reared its head on many occasions.  But we celebrated small successes, especially when my girls’ faces turned to look at me beaming.  “Four pedals, Papa, did you see that?!”  Yes honey, I saw it.  So proud.

An hour later, we left the parking lot, my girls still unable to remain upright on their bikes.  But the perseverance they showed…that’s got to be worth something, right?




Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

12 thoughts on “Perseverance: A Tuesday Slice of Life”

  1. Your post took me back to teaching my own children how to ride. Like you, we lived on a busy street with no sidewalks. We would cut through the back neighbor’s yard to the neighborhood beyond. I admire your girls’ perseverance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You bet it’s worth something! And that’s what all of us try to achieve, I think. That balance. They’ll get it with practice. Would that we all “get it” eventually!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These are the moments we treasure. I liked your words as you coached into their ears. I had the same issue with no sidewalk. My girls learned to ride on the grass. It helped a bit with the knees. It is wonderful you have saved this memory here. You will treasure it forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The girls will learn to ride their bikes and they will know that they had help and support in the process, that it took time to get it and that they were eventually successful. Understanding that other things in life can work that way, too may turn out to be the gift that keeps on giving.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw, that’s awesome! I loved the little snippets of encouraging conversations! This reminds me of when my daughter was learning to walk; her perseverance struck me so much then that I sliced about it back then! I guess moments like this are probably in my future!

    Liked by 1 person

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