My son recently taught himself how to ride his bike without training wheels, and ever since then he's been tearing around the neighborhood like a (totally safety-conscious and under-control) madman. It's been a joy to watch, even as I keep shifting my own bike into higher and higher gears in a futile effort to keep up with him (his bike is gearless, by the way).
This morning he was already quite a bit ahead of me when I noticed that he was approaching an elderly woman, who was moving very slowly along the sidewalk, huddled over her walker. There wasn't time for me to yell out a fatherly "Be careful!" or "Watch out!" to him -- but no matter: as usual, he politely slowed down as he approached her. I was relieved, but still concerned that the woman would be irritated by this sidewalk encounter. And what did she actually do as my son coasted past her? She looked up from her walker, took in the sight of happy boy on brightly colored bike, and, beaming, gave him a big thumb's-up!
As I went past her a few seconds later, she was still smiling. A lovely moment, as -- at a somewhat constant speed -- I continued along the continuum from my son's age to (hopefully) hers. ...
August 19th, 2006