Should I teach someone else to ride?

As we go through life, we inevitably are faced with a fairly common decision situation – should you call in an expert or professional to solve a problem, or should you do it yourself? The matter might range anywhere from:

•Replacing a dripping faucet washer
•Removing a tree limb that is hanging precariously over the house
•Tying a string onto an aching tooth, securing it to a door knob, and waiting for the next person to happen by and open the door
•Staying at home for the birth of your baby
•Writing your own will, as opposed to hiring an attorney

The list could go on, but we’ve made our point.
There are usually a number of factors which come into play when you make the choice to “do it yourself,” or to call in an “expert.” In this section we’ll use the words “expert” and “professional” somewhat interchangeably, but we acknowledge that not all professionals are experts. We also acknowledge that some experts are not professionals, but merely people good at doing things without making a living doing so. It is important to note the following about professionals, even inept professionals. If a professional is inept in your opinion, there still must be something good enough in what they do if they are able to continue to be in the business. If they were grossly inept, logic suggests that they would not be able to make a living, unless they fell into the category of con-artist and hustler. Even the worst professional, assuming honesty, must be sufficiently good if they are able to sustain a living doing what they do.

Some factors opposing the idea of using an expert include
•I think I can do a better job than the so-called expert.
•I can’t find a qualified expert.
•I can’t find a qualified expert whom I can trust.
•I can’t afford what the expert will cost.
•I know how to change the oil in my car myself.
•I resent the idea that I can’t do anything as simple as …
•I believe that in order to be a whole person, one has to live life and do everything, including …
•This guy who claims to be an expert will track in dirt, leave ruts in my lawn, make a mess, and has barely been able to graduate from high school.

Conversely, some considerations make it reasonable to hire an expert, and these include
•It is hard to perform a root canal on yourself.
•I have ample money, and I’d rather spend my time doing something else such as …
•The expert has the tools, the know-how, and can get the job done right the first time.
•If I hire an expert I don’t look like a fool having to call him in the end after I’ve messed up the job.
•The expert is bonded and brings with him/her insurance in case that tree limb does fall through my roof when he’s working, or God forbid, he/she gets injured.
•The dentist uses Novocain® and I’d never even consider dental work without getting my Novocain® first.
•The job will be done quicker if I hire an expert.
•I don’t care to crawl under the car, and I certainly don’t want to get my hands dirty. Besides what am I going to do with the used drain oil?
•I don’t have the right tools.
•The job will be done right.
•I don’t have to deal with the prospect of what to do if I try and fail.

The decision to use or to not use an expert is entirely personal, and we make these decisions almost daily. We can all recall times when we tried to do it by ourselves, and really botched the job – even to the point of destroying something nice. We can also recall times when we called in an expert, and the expert tightened one screw and charged us an outrageous fee. Regarding bicycle instruction, most of us, and we say most, only have a countable number of children. Hence we don’t have to become bicycle instruction experts, except when our child faces the issue of getting rid of the training wheels.
An additional bicycle reality is that virtually millions of children make the transition annually from training wheels to riding conventional two-wheelers with only slight discomfort or inconvenience. In the face of all this we have the other side of the coin – some children can’t get past training wheels, and some get injured in the process of trying. Emergency rooms see injuries such as lacerations, broken limbs, broken teeth, and even eye injuries from bike related accidents, and with some due to accidents incurred while trying to learn.

Some warning signs:

If your child has excessive fears, has been injured, or has repeatedly failed on attempts on bikes without training wheels, then you are starting to ask, quite naturally –“Will my child ever learn to ride a bike?” “Is my child slated to be one of those who will never learn to ride a bike?” “Is there something wrong with my child?” If nothing else has given you any warning signs, one thing should – when your child’s younger siblings have learned to ride and yet the older child hasn’t. If your child doesn’t have younger siblings it is perhaps when the younger peers in the neighborhood start riding? When the taunts and ridicule from other kids come into play, that is when you know that you have a real problem.

We now make the assumption that you as a parent are concerned, and that you are making the decision to intervene in the teaching of your child to ride a bike. A very logical question to ask is – what options do I have at my disposal? “Should I hire a professional?” “What if it’s not possible for my child to get into one of Dr. Klein’s camps?” “Will having to run beside my child hurt my already bad knee?” After giving credence to the above issues, if you decide to still go ahead with the home remedy route, the next task is to seek some tips for things that can be done at home. The question then becomes, “What can I do to get my child to ride a bike?” “What do I have to do to bone up for the job?”

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