21 January 2011, by Daphne Ling
With a photo like this, you’d think I’m going to write a motivational piece on how life is like riding a bike and something about getting up when we fall, which is remotely related to how winners are those who never quit. Stuff like that.
But then you probably came to the wrong blog because there is no such lesson to be learnt here.
This is a story about a girl who wanted to ride a bike but her legs were too short and she was grunting away, with beads of sweat trickling down her face, trying to muster all the energy from her little calfs but that bike wouldn’t even budge an inch. I was about to launch into one of my life lessons about not giving up but then she started shrieking because MOMMA WHY IS MY BIKE NOT MOVING? SOMEBODY PUSH ME AROUND NOW!!
So as I pushed her around while she pretended to pedal, I realized that it was I who had something to learn. The sort of secret lessons you only get to learn when you’re a parent.
1. Screaming does get you what you want.
Most of the time anyway. Even parents who start out thinking that they are not going to give in to their kid’s screams usually cave after 2 days with a newborn who does nothing but scream. After that, kids learn very quickly that every time they scream, there’s an 8% chance they will get ignored, 13% chance they will get the naughty corner and for the rest of the 79%, they get exactly what they want.
2. Even if you can’t do something, at least look like you can.
It’s called wayang, another important lesson we all need to learn. We’ll never be able to know how to do everything, but the key is to first look like we can. Then go ask someone to teach you, or better still, shout orders at them and make them do it for you. Bam, problem solved.
If you have difficulty making people do what you want, refer to lesson 1.
3. Life is nothing like riding a bike.
Not even close. Some days life is more like pulling a rickshaw barefoot on hot coals while getting beaten with a stick. But you can always hope that one day you’ll be the dude cruising along in your Maserati with the top down and the wind in your hair. The bad news is that you may not end up getting your Maserati dream but the good news is that you’re not going to be pulling the rickshaw forever so at some point we all just got to learn to chill and enjoy the ride.
It’s really not as profound as it sounds.
Daphne blogs at www.motherinc.org