Learning to Fly
Sometimes the little things are far more important and will lead to either spiraling misery, or a meteoric rise in opportunity and happiness.
I’m running down the street chasing him, barely able to keep up. I won’t let him get away from me. My lungs are burning and as I’m gasping for air I think to myself, “When did I get so old and out of shape?”. Snap back to reality, Gavin seems balanced and so I let go of the seat. He wasn’t ready.
There lay my little mini-me with his legs all tangled up in the bike frame. He looked up at me from underneath his Spider-man helmet with tears streaming down his chubby little cheeks. The saddest thing I’ve ever seen. Then he screamed at me,
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! YOU CAN’T JUST LET KIDS GO!!! YOU MADE ME FALL…. YOU’RE THE WORST DAD EVER!!!
He might as well have thrust a samurai sword into my heart. I felt like the worst dad ever. Hearing him say all of that crushed me even though I knew he didn’t mean it. I’m just one of those “Sensi-Dad’s”.
I don’t ever want to be the cause of his pain. So, what do I do to avoid being “The worst dad ever”? I kept chasing behind him and whenever he would start to fall I didn’t let him fight it out, I just immediately rescued him. I was getting a decent workout to say the least.
While taking a badly needed break I had a moment of clarity. I realized that I was cutting the butterfly from the cocoon. If you’re not familiar, there’s an old story with many variations, perhaps an actual experiment took place somewhere, about a man that loved butterfly’s. He was fascinated by them, especially by their transformation and emergence from their cocoons.
One day the man observed a butterfly attempting to emerge from a cocoon for over 10 hours. He decided to act. The man got a pair of scissors and made a larger hole in the cocoon—a metaphoric pair of training wheels. The butterfly easily emerged with no struggle.
The man was ecstatic! He rescued the butterfly—So he thought.
But as the butterfly came out, it looked odd. Its wings were small and withered and its body was swollen. The butterfly sort of crawled around and then just simply died.
What the man didn’t know is that the struggle of getting out of the cocoon is essential to the butterfly’s survival. Their bodies are full of fluid and as they struggle to squeeze out of the cocoon, the fluid from their body squeezes into the wings. As the wings fill with fluid the butterfly squirms out of the cocoon & the wings open and expand. Then, and only then can the butterfly fly away to live a full life.
Out of love, the man took away the butterfly’s struggle—and therefore caused its death.
So here I am cutting the cocoon. I’m exhausting myself trying to protect Gavin from a few skinned knees and bruises but I’m doing him more harm than good because I don’t want him to fall and get hurt. He knows I’m holding on, he doesn’t have to balance. I’m his human training wheels. Learning to balance and crashing with scrapes and bruises are all a necessary part of the struggle for kids to fly away and live a full life—figuratively speaking of course.
This is about so much more than just learning to ride a bike! It’s about learning to stand on his own two feet, facing his fears, seizing his courage, and not being afraid to take risks. Allowing him to avoid this struggle is just setting him up for failure. What’s he going to do if he plays baseball and can’t hit a home run on his first at bat? Can’t play the instrument like an expert the first time he tried it? He may not even try things at all for fear of failure? Letting him take the easy way out will lead to a lifetime of mediocrity, disappointment, and unhappiness.
All because I’m afraid to watch him have a few falls and it hurts my feelings when he’s upset with me? I needed to man-up. He needs to go through this rite of passage. I’ll proudly shoulder the blame. My name is Dad and it’s my duty. As much as it pains me, he’s got to experience the fear in his heart so that he can be courageous and overcome it. He’s got to fall so he’ll learn how to get back up.
Fear can be conquered and bruises always heel. He’ll blame me now but that’s the cross we choose to bear as parents—to do what’s best for them even if we become unpopular.
When we care about others we’re willing to be unpopular for their own good. A personal trainer pushes us past our limitations. We actually pay them to make us work harder and sweat more. But the results speak for themselves. My clients hire me for the same reason. We follow a proven documented approach. I don’t cut the cocoon open, they have to squeeze their way out. They may get a skinned knee here and there but the result is Maximum Profits and all the opportunity that comes with them.
Laurie and Dominic, past clients, had to relocate from Rocklin to Oregon. They implemented our approach and reaped the rewards. Their home sold for $75k more because of the approach and strategies we implemented. They realized that if they didn’t go through the struggle, “The Value Driven Approach”, they would be forced to move, with their children, into an unsafe neighborhood.
They chose the more difficult path and it gave them superior results. It wasn’t easy being the guy seemingly putting them through this struggle nit it had to be done. It was my job, just like it’s my job to raise Gavin into an amazing human being.
So, I finished my rest and Gavin got back on the bike. I grabbed the seat and off we went. This time was different though. I warned him, “OK buddy, once we get going, I’m going to let go and I’m not going to catch you.” “No dad! Don’t let me go!
“I know you can do it buddy, you just have to try…”
We set off and I waited until it felt like he was balancing and I let go of the seat. He looked back at me and that caused the bike to veer. He panicked and he crashed. “DAD! I TOLD YOU NOT TO LET ME GO!!!”
There wasn’t any blood, nothing broken. Time to get back on the horse. He was pissed off! Mumbling angrily about how I’m the worst dad ever.
We were off again. He was still angry but now he was focused. He had a thousand-yard stare and was determined to ride. He balanced right away. I let go and he made it about 20 feet and then he looked back again which caused the handle bars to veer and he started going down. He stuck his foot out slid off the seat and managed to stay up.
He was so excited he wanted to show Annette. He ran as fast as he could. ”MOM…MOM…. MOM I RODED MY BIKE ALL BY MYSELF!” Annette followed us out and he jumped back up on the bike and I held the back of his seat for take-off. He balanced right away and started pedaling. I let go but continued to keep up just behind him. “You still got me dad?”, he asked. “I gotcha buddy”, even though I had let go. He looked back and saw that I wasn’t holding on and he let out a little scream. “Don’t worry Gav you got it, look how far you made it!”
He had had a grin from ear to ear as he rode around with the wind in his face. He got a little squirrelly a couple of times and my stomach was in knots. But he managed to stay up and he rode up and down the street.
IT WAS AWESOME! This made my day…MY YEAR!!!
You would have thought I won the lottery. I was screaming and cheering for him. “YOU’RE DOING SO AWESOME BUDDY!” I grabbed him off the bike and gave him another giant hug, or squeeze as we call it. I was so excited that I started jumping up and down with him in my arms and he was laughing and giggling.
Over-dramatic? I think not! My neighbors probably did though.
Mission accomplished! He was so proud of himself. He overcame his fears and he didn’t give up. In his 5-year old mind he had accepted that he just wouldn’t ride a bicycle. I couldn’t let him give up. Too much was at stake to let him quit or to keep rescuing him. It was tough but I had to let him get angry with me and go through the pain. It’s not just about missing out on riding bikes, it’s about him taking the world by storm and I felt like Gav took his 1st step.
We were still celebrating his great achievement. I crouched down and reached out with my arms. “Give me a squeeze buddy, I’m soo proud of you!”
He walked over with a grin on his face. I said, “I love you so much, do you know how proud you’ve made me?”
Gav smiled, “I love you dad, you can have two squeezes! You know why? Cause you’re the best-est dad in the whole wide entire world!”
As I was getting a little choked up I said, “I’m sooo proud because you tried sooo hard…I know you were scared, but you were brave and you did it anyway. You did your best! That’s why I’m so proud of you! I love you!”
“OK dad, you can have three squeezes!”
My heart melted!
Chris Reese is the co-creator of ‘The Value-Driven Approach: A practical guide to protect yourself from REAL ESTATE GREED & bank and extra $30,000 by THINKING like the great Warren Buffett.’ He is a licensed agent with Reese Realty and a local entrepreneur as well. For a free copy of his book visit: www.SendMeYourBook.com