When I was a kid, I rode my bike everywhere. When the clouds part here in the Pacific Northwest and we have a brief respite from the lingering dark, I ride still. But my kids do not. My oldest is seven and has a bike of her own and no training wheels, but she doesn’t know how to ride. The biggest reason she doesn’t is because she hasn’t logged enough learning hours. I have a job with unpredictable hours and I am often at work when the sun shows herself. My wife is home, but with two other kids in tow teaching her is hard. She usually leaves me the responsibility of teaching the kids anything where they may die (bike riding, swmimming, mountain climbing, sky diving, etc.).
Mike Howerton, lead pastor of Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, Wa. His new book, The Ride of Your Life: What I Learned about God, Love, and Adventure by Teaching My Son to Ride a Bike, tells the story of how he taught his son to ride a bike in five days and the lessons applicable to life. The five lessons from each of the daily twenty minute sessions are as follows:
- Day one: No Fear because my dad has me.
- Day two: Balance (the secret to balance is to keep pedaling).
- Day three: Steering–you avoid obstacles by looking ahead and where you look is where you” go.
- Day four: Braking–learning how to stop and how to slow down.
- Day five: starting from a standstill (getting back up after a fall).
Howerton uses the framework of these lessons with his son to talk about life. On day one, he holds the back of his son’s seat as he rides. He got him. In similar fashion, God has us (except he doesn’t actually let go like Howerton does). On day two, Howerton draws a correlation between the way our weight shifts as we pedal uphill, with the imbalances of our everyday life. He advocates balance in every area but love. We don’t balance love with unlove, but we do balance everything else (i.e. work/life, selfishness/self care, action/patience, etc.). Day three has us paying attention to where we want to end up ( our ultimate destination) and what is in our way. Wtih Howerton’s son, we learn the importance of slowing down on day four and on day five Howerton shares vulnerably about picking himself after facing difficult personal circumstances.
Howerton is a pastor and these refelctions are rooted in our life with God. He shares practical insights into the spiritual life. I enjoyed this book and find it helpful. Learning to ride is an apt metaphor for learning the disciplines which will enable us to thrive in life. Beyond Howerton’s pastoral goals, I find this book helpful for giving me a framework to teach my daughter how to ride. For that I give this book four stars.
Notice of material connection: Thank you to Baker Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.