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Archive for July 25th, 2012

A Broken Nose, a Lesson Learned

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Today I rode my bicycle to yoga class. It was a bit of a hassle, as the roads where Just B Yoga is located, are being torn up this summer. (REO Town, Lansing, Michigan)

At one corner, I tried to put my foot on the curb to wait for the traffic to clear. Somehow I misjudged and fell (onto grass, nothing hurt but my pride). It reminded me of a story from my childhood.

I’ve told this story before, but never put it in writing. It’s a particularly good lesson when I work with kids. However, it surely has plenty food for thought, even for “grown ups.”

The Clever Bicyclist

When I was in 3rd grade, I spent a lot of time on my bicycle. We had the largest driveway in the neighborhood, so often neighbor kids would come over and ride there with us.

One day I was riding solo around the block. I got a “great idea.” I felt very clever… I would ride my bike with my eyes closed!

Now, this worked for a while. Our streets were asphalt which came right up to the soil and grass of each yard. If I rode to the right of the street, I could feel when I hit the gravel. I’d correct my path by going a little bit to the left. When I felt myself on the asphalt, I’d try to hug the right edge of the road again.

Mind you, both of my parents were educators. Many of my friends came from homes also valuing education, learning and smarts. I got a lot of pleasure and reinforcement when I felt or acted clever.

Drum Roll…

You know it couldn’t end smoothly, right? Well, this was a neighborhood with large enough yards that the mail was delivered by vehicle rather than on foot. Therefore, the mailboxes were out on the street.

There was also the problem of driveways. I had not anticipated this issue.

So… this very clever 3rd grader rode her bike to the right side of the asphalt. With her eyes closed, of course. When she reached an asphalt driveway, she didn’t notice any change in the texture underneath the bicycle. So… when there was a mailbox at the other side of the driveway…

… she hit the mailbox. And broke her nose. And didn’t feel clever anymore.

I was so embarrassed I didn’t tell the truth. I made up a story about hearing a sound and turning my head away from the street to figure out what it was.

I have a transparent face. I can’t fib at all. My mother surely knew I was lying, but I’m thinking she didn’t want to know what the real story might be.

And the Moral is?

Two morals, one more obvious than the other.

1. Being clever is not always an asset. Don’t be so proud of it that you forget your other attributes.

2. Tell your foibles to others. Don’t hide your lessons. Let others learn from a story told, rather than a mistake made. (Humbleness is, hopefully, a by-product of this choice.)

What stories/lessons have you never told?