My boy trained me, as I was training him …

Fancy that… learning life skills from my five-year old boy? Hmmm… 

What do you do when you want to develop life skills – learn from books, sign up for a two-day course, or attend a half-day seminar where you face a motivational speaker drilling his thoughts into you with his stories, his anecdotes, his jokes? Perhaps so. However, you could also self-discover how you could become better and more effective by simply listening to your own life experiences, or others. let me illustrate with a really simple story (a real life experience) and from here, describe the life learnings that I pick up …

It was in May when my boy took up lessons in bicycle riding. His coach – me! Not a very patient one though, but a directed one, very focused, with one objective in mind – that he should be able to cycle on the two-wheeler at the end of the session. Well, his lesson actually ended up as my life lesson, instead…You see, a five-year old boy will defy your focused objective – his idea is to have fun, besides wanting to cycle. Though I dearly wanted him to learn how to do it within the short period of forty-five minutes, I had to accede to his desire to have fun. After all, what’s the objective of learning to cycle? – to have fun, of course!

While learning to cycle, I kept telling my boy not to look back, but to look straight far ahead – one of the surest way to start learning how to balance on the two wheels. You see… he kept looking back to see what I was doing, whether I was still around. Aren’t we the same in life? We keep looking back at our past; as a result, we tend to stagnate and not move forward. We keep allowing our past to haunt us, and to immobilise us. We permit our past to determine and decide what we are to do next. And if my boy keeps looking back, he will not learn the essence of balance. It is only when he looks far, stay focused on something ahead, that he is able to begin the balancing act.

Fifteen minutes after we were there, another two boys came around and shared the place with us. Not that we minded… but a situatioin arose – my boy no longer had the freedom of having the big place to himself. First, his learning was slowed by having to be cautious of the other two cyclists. Second, he was distracted – he kept looking at the other two boys cycling. On reflection, we do not have the luxury of having every thing to ourselves too. We have to contend and cooperate in harmony with whoever may cross our paths. Yes, there will be distraction. There will be disagreements. But we have to constantly remind ourselves of our objectives. We have to compromise if possible, and if it is not, agree to disagree, and so on…And what did I do, through it all? Well, I kept telling my boy to look straight, look far and not get distracted looking the others; albeit a difficult task….

Let’s end it here – that my boy managed to balance for short distances (of several meters) several times, without me holding on to him. Yap, one more session, and he should be able to ride joyfully.


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