My daughter is four and she started riding a bike about seven days ago. A bike with pedals and brakes and no training wheels. It’s a little bit large for her but her strider bike (no pedals and no brakes) was a little bit small. With sheltering in place the kids in the neighborhood have been out on their bikes a lot. She was motivated to learn.
There is a crew of kids in the neighborhood, ages 4 to 15, that bikes. There are semi-organized lines of kids riding around the streets and sidewalks, up, down, swerve here then there, over and over. It’s like ballet on bikes.
But that gets boring. The crew found old pieces of plywood and 2x4s and set up jumps in the road at the bottom of the hills. That eventually got boring and they created a ramp. Now, at the bottom of a large hill, there may be a series of jumps and a ramp in the road at any given time (cars are all aware of this, it’s been going on for weeks now). The kids careen this way and that up the hill and then down in a line-like fashion crashing over the jumps and launching off the ramp. Rinse-repeat-scream down the hill again.
My daughter is four. She learned to ride a bike seven days ago.
After learning to bike (about seven days ago) she biked up the hill. She launched herself into the mix of kids. She went careening down the hill at speed, legs a blur, with a giant smile on her face and launched herself off the ramp and into the air. She landed it perfectly. She did it again. And again. And again.
It all happened so quickly the first time and I had no chance to react. She had been biking randomly around the street. I never once considered she would go up the hill and launch herself off a ramp. But she did. If she had asked me first I would have told her not to, because safety and what not. I would have told her she was four. I would have told her she started biking one week ago and was not stable enough yet. I would have told her she couldn’t do it.
But she did. And she did it brilliantly.
And now I am left wondering, what could we all do, if we acted like we were four and we had no idea we could not or should not do something and we just went ahead and did it? What would that feel like?
Based on the smile on her face and the giggles of joy as she launched herself off that ramp, I am pretty sure it would feel amazing.
So if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to imagine I was four and I could do anything. Imagine. I. Could. Do. Anything. Imagine I did not know I could not (or should not) do something because of safety or fear or preconceived notions or rules or barriers or whatever it is holding me back. Imagine. And then do.