You Never Forget . .

By Greg Baer M.D.

May 18, 2015

The saying goes, “You never forget . . . how to ride a bike.” Learning how to ride in the beginning, however, can be daunting. I worked pretty hard at helping my first few children how to ride. Like many parents, I foolishly believed that I could teach them by running along beside them, holding the seat of the bike while shouting, “Pedal, pedal, you can do it.”

Silly me. As long as I held onto the bike, they simply relied on my support and learned nothing, since my controlling them was nothing like their riding on their own. The instant I let go, they became terrified of falling, which was followed by thrashing their bodies wildly, moving the handlebars back and forth rapidly, and their feet slipping off the pedals. All these actions, of course, resulted in their falling off the bike.

I finally discovered that when children are ready to ride—when they WANT to ride, despite their fears (which is called having faith)—they can do it, almost without effort. At that point, I can explain simply that it’s the forward motion of the bike, and the steady application of pressure on the pedals that creates the tendency for the bike to stay upright. (The physics involved doesn’t matter much to the child.)

My job then becomes encouragement and calm—a form of loving them—with a bit of instruction. When they feel safe enough and motivated to learn this new and exciting skill, they catch on in minutes—sometimes seconds.

We all learn to be happy much as we learn to ride a bike. We can’t be forced. If other people hold on to us too tightly, we learn nothing except how to be controlled like a puppet. No, at some point we must decide for ourselves that we want to move to a new plane of awareness and abilities. The love and instruction of others is sorely needed, but only we can decide to trust them, trust physics, and trust ourselves to the point where we can begin to ride solo.

No matter how many times we have fallen, we can do this.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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