I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood where there’s a mix of single folks, families with kids ages 0-17, empty nesters, and retirees. As such, I get a parenting education each time I walk out the door. Someone’s always around to either offer some neighborly advice or ask for mine.
My four year-old daughter got a bike with training wheels for her birthday a few months ago. Our old neighborhood’s sidewalks are bumpy and uneven, so she can’t always muster the strength to pedal over bumps or small inclines.
Over the weekend I was walking alongside her as she rode, tugging her over the tough spots (and tweaking my back in the process). One of my neighbors was gardening in her front yard and paused to admire the big girl and her bike in all of its pink-and-tasselled glory. Then she said: “Wait! I’ve got something that would make that so much easier for you!” (You in this case referring to me.) In a moment she produced a bungee cord, which we hooked onto the bike’s front handle, and suddenly I could pull my daughter over little bumps easily enough while keeping my hands off the bike. She’s a slow and deliberate rider, so it worked perfectly for both of us.
Thank goodness for the wisdom of neighbors who’ve done it all before.