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An S on His Chest

Updated on April 24, 2010

An S on His Chest

My overprotective father was the one who taught me how to ride a bike. It needs to be said that I had some coordination and balance issues with just walking, so no one was looking forward to taking on the task of teaching me to ride a bike. I was pathologically clumsy but despite this, my Dad, of course, stepped up to the plate.

There were a few suggestions on the table about how to go about teaching me to ride a bike without killing myself, or someone else. Training wheels were out of the question, that's it's own separate story. And after some contemplation, but not quite enough contemplation my Dad's next, and final decision was for me to practice in the backyard on the grass when he wasn't home to teach me. On the grass! There was no talking him out of this decision. Even my mother, who as far as she was concerned, 'not every child has to ride a bike,' didn't agree with this decision. I'm not sure if you've had a chance to bike, skateboard, or even drive across a lawn lately, but it really is harder than it sounds. Wheels and grass do not in any way mix.

I wanted, however, to learn to ride my bike, and so off and away I went on the great open grass road. I wished that road would take me to my real family where children could ride their bikes on the sidewalk. I wondered who I could report this to. I was about 6 years old, and I was using the phone, but I wasn't sure what agency you call to report this type of parenting. I was furious! One of my neighbors saw me practicing riding a bike, yes riding a bike, in our yard and let me know that it would probably be better if I tried riding on the sidewalk, as the grass was no place to learn. Gee, why didn't I think of that.

To everyone's surprise, including my own, I actually did learn to ride this way, and managed not to get hurt, but I was way too mad to be happy about that. I wasn't about to forgive him for making me RIDE A BIKE in our yard. That was ridiculous.

I planned to never speak to him again, actually I knew better than to pull that, but I was going to only talk to him in a limited way. I wasn't going to be happy, I wasn't going to laugh if he tried to make me laugh, and I was only going to talk to him if he asked me a question. The only problem with that plan was that not long after I made this pact with myself there was a monster under my bed.

I believe normal children have monsters under their bed that they're afraid of, my monster wasn't scary. I just felt he shouldn't be there. So without any haste I got out of my bed and reported to my Dad that there was definitely a monster under my bed. This monster was shaped like a golden clam, had lips that felt like paper, and had no teeth. Without trying to talk me out of this, my dad followed me upstairs. He lifted up my bed, and there was no monster. I was stunned.

"Check the closet, he didn't have legs but maybe he had wings that I couldn't see."

My dad checked the closet and actually, he took me around the house to check thoroughly for my runaway monster, and told me calmly that there were no monsters in the house, and would I be able to go back to sleep? Well, I was never afraid of the monster in the first place, so as long he stayed out of my room, than all was forgiven. I decided than that my Dad had redeemed himself with this monster hunt, and that I would start speaking to him again.

My brothers and I ignored my Dad's advice regularly, and usually that led to things turning out pretty much the way he said they would. Whenever the boys and I went against what my Dad said, even as adults, and we made a mess of something, my dad just bailed us out. I can say that to this day, my Dad has never said 'I told you so.' Not even once. Now my mother should get an 'I told you so' tattoo, but my Dad never got any joy out of seeing us unhappy. Even if it meant that he got to be vindicated in how right all along he had been, if our decisions led to our own turmoil, he just helped us. I suppose that's one of the reasons it is so easy a transition for me to appreciate a heavenly Father that does the same.


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    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 7 years ago

      more than happy to write that iantopf, i so appreciate my father. He's my hero!

    • iantoPF profile image

      Peter Freeman 7 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      As a father who has had to teach his children how to ride a bike, then drive a car, I really appreciated and enjoyed this Hub. Thank you.