A mother took her son to a playground to teach him how to ride a bicycle. She put training wheels on the bike to prevent him from falling while he got the feel of it. After riding with the training wheels for about a week, the boy asked his mother to remove them. Nervous that the child would fall, the mother said, “Why don’t you practice a bit more? Remember, if you fall you can get hurt.” The boy agreed to practice for a few more days, but he became impatient and returned to his mother after just one hour and asked, “Please mother, all the other boys my age are riding their bikes without training wheels. I too am ready to ride on my own.”
The boy’s mother knew he was coordinated enough to ride the bike on his own and that he was anxious to join with his friends who were riding all over the playground without training wheels, but she was also concerned about what would happen to his self-confidence if he fell immediately after the wheels were removed. But because her son was insistent, she reluctantly removed the training wheels.
But the worst thing that could have happened, happened. The boy fell and bloodied his knee after riding freely for just a few feet. His mother rushed to his side. And through his tears, the first thing he saw after falling down was the smiling, loving face of his mother reaching down and picking him up. “Perhaps you should put the training wheels back on mother,” the boy suggested. “Is that what you want?” she replied. The boy said yes and so his mother replaced the wheels and he started practicing again.
As he practiced, he watched the other children on the playground who were riding without training wheels. They could ride so much more freely without the restrictive training wheels and some of them were becoming so good that they started making jumps and doing tricks on their bikes. But he also watched the kids who were still riding with training wheels. He noticed that their riding – like his own – was severely constrained. True, they were far less likely to crash, but they also couldn’t make tight corners or ride very fast, and their movements when compared with the other riders all looked the same.
After a few more days, the boy was ready to try again. His mother removed the training wheels and to her great relief, the boy kept his balance and stayed on the bike. His riding was somewhat tenuous for the next few days, but soon his skills began to improve and he gradually developed a riding style that was all his own.