Giving her the space to be...
A La Carte Coaching


By Caroline

This summer something amazing happened. My daughter learned to ride a bike! I know it sounds like such a classic, simple tale—a child’s first two-wheeled bike—but for us, it was a long road.
I love to ride, and I’ve been looking forward to biking with my daughter since she was young. But, there would be some trials and tribulations before that would occur. Afraid of falling and not being able to do it perfectly the first time, she refused to get on her bike for four years. On the rare occasions we could coax her, she would do it reluctantly, going painfully slowly and complaining the entire time. My patience was wearing thin.
Then one day I realized that
this was about me, that I was allowing my “pushy” gremlin to control the situation; it was dictating my actions and reactions. It was because of me that we were getting nowhere! I was in the way. So, knowing that “what you resist persists,” I decided to let it go and I locked that #!%!#!! gremlin in the closet. After all, my daughter is her own wonderful person, and she would come to it when she was ready. She participates in many other activities—dance class, art class, she loves to swim and she is a voracious reader. I finally accepted that it might just take her a bit longer and got out of her way.
In June we went to Florida for vacation and my daughter’s best friend came with us. Well, I got an idea: her friend had been eager to learn to ride a bike, so why not buy them a bike that they could take turns on and learn to ride together … with my calm, steady, caring husband as their coach. I casually suggested the idea, and she didn’t say, “No.” A step in the right direction. I didn’t push it … I just let it hang out there for a couple of days before I mentioned it again. And this time she said, “Maybe.” More steps in the right direction. Off we went to the store to look at bikes, and she found one that she liked … so, we bought it!

I took myself out of the equation and let my husband handle the teaching process. Her friend was so excited that I think it gave my daughter the desire to try. When she thought she couldn’t do it, we reassured her and encouraged her, telling her that it takes practice and patience (hmm, that word again) to learn something new. The girls were having fun taking turns, and I realized as I watched that she was really close—her body very straight, her mind focused, and then … she did it!!! She was so proud of herself, so happy with her accomplishment, and I am thrilled for her!
This entire incident, however, prompted me to look again at the power and control our gremlins have over our lives. It amazes me how they just sneak up and grab hold. But, they’re just old conversations in our head and realizing the presence of the gremlin in the first place is often all it takes to change our actions and reactions. But,
it’s the “realizing” that’s the hard part.

By allowing my daughter the space to be herself she was able to succeed. I believe she is in my life to teach me what I need to learn. Because of her I am learning that patience, acceptance, compassion and unconditional love can be the most generous gifts we give our children. And today I can savor this small miracle and the joy of riding with my daughter.

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