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The Things We Teach Our Kids

The Guideposts executive editor reflects on God’s help in parenting.

My older son, Will, never learned how to ride a bicycle as a kid. Let me tell you I was convinced that it had to be added to my long list of failings as a dad—I couldn’t teach him. I taught Tim, his younger brother, no problem. But no matter how many times Will and I went around the park, me clutching the seat of the bike, ready at any moment to let go…it just never worked.

So somewhere along the way I let go. I let go, as parents really must let go about so many accomplishments and achievements they dream for their children. Maybe in that letting go, there’s a spiritual relinquishment. Allowing God to take up parenting where you as a parent don’t feel like you’ve done your best. I only remember trying to teach Will to ride a bike was incredibly frustrating. 

And yet, and yet…one day when he was 16, at a friend’s beach house, he got on a bike, coasted down a small hill and rode it. He never really stopped after that. He rode a bike the rest of high school and he rode a bike in college. Now that he’s a newly minted college graduate, he’s taken it to even greater lengths. You might be wondering why I’m telling this story now (and one can only hope that Will, age 22, reads it with some forgiveness). It’s because of the text message we got on Saturday: “Mom, Dad, just finished 78-mile ride. It was great!” A 78-mile ride on Highway One up the California coast. From a kid whose dad could never teach him to ride. 

Sure glad I had some help in parenting. You never do it on your own. Thank God.

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor at GUIDEPOSTS.

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