Sunday, March 12, 2006


Hooray, class is out! I'm sure that's what my students were saying this afternoon. By the way, we finished up at about 4:10 PM. I just got home a few minutes ago. How does it take a little over 3 hours to go 30 miles? No, there was no mechanical problem with the bike. Katie had something else going so the ST and I headed for the "third star on the right and straight on 'til morning". ( From Peter Pan ). Something about a long-legged bike that begs to run.

Finishing up some business from yesterday. I took a look at the paper and saw there was a fatal accident early Saturday morning. That's why the intersections were closed off. Two young men lost their lives. The police were doing a thorough investigation. Sad news. To make matters worse, it looks like they were innocent victims.

My youngest son sent me a text message. He lives in the town I was headed to for class. His place of employment is in the town I live in. Seems we passed each other going opposite directions. Early morning for both of us. He saw me and waved. Then sent me a note saying "hello". Enjoy the family every day. The fatal accident shows we never know. Hope for the best but love deeply every day.

This started out being about my class. There is one man in particular I wanted to mention. This guy is middle to older-aged. He has an endorsement but has not ridden in over 25 years. I am sure he felt awkward in what is basically a beginner's class. Wisdom brought him to us. I could see the rusty parts of his riding. There were some things he didn't know in the first place. In the evaluation this student had a tip-over. Not serious, just the slow fall you want to yell "Timber" for. He came up to me later and told me he had figured out exactly what he had done.

What I really want to say here is that I have the utmost respect for people like him. This student put his pride aside and is totally better off for doing so. How sad it is that so many miss out on improvement because of pride. They seem to think they might look "silly". They might even say they don't need any training because they already know it all. My feeling is that it's a combination of two things.

Firstly, people get set in their comfort level. Letting go of what they have is too stressful. The trouble is that you have to let go of one vine to grab another. I once heard the story of a monkey who put its hand in a hole in a tree. Finding a coconut it latched on tight. Problem was that with the coconut clutched in its fist, the hand would not come out of the hole. Little monkey was trapped because it would not let go. The monkey became easy prey and vulnerable because of it. To me, reluctance to let go of a comfort level is the same kind of trap.

Secondly, and perhaps the biggest reason, is that people are used to having it easy. What I mean is that there's a culture of giving people a false sense of accomplishment. God forbid we should damage somebody's self esteem by telling them they need to work harder. You really see it in the schools now, but I think this reflects the trend in society. Everybody's told they're doing good but nobody has to really work for it. The problem is that the feeling of accomplishment rings so hollow. There's no real pride in it since it's based on a facade.

Truly reaching out for new skills means there's a chance for failure. Ironically, that's what makes actually reaching the new level so sweet. It will always be ours. If we fail, we learn from it and try another approach. That's what my student did today. I give him the best gift I have.


No comments: