I was probably about five years old when I boldly declared to my father that it was time to take the training wheels off my bike. So out we went to quiet end of our neighborhood street with my pink hand-me-down bicycle and an armful of safety gear. After some quick instruction and a little pep talk, my dad put me on the bike and told me to give it a try. I froze. Terrified. But having been through this exact moment with two kids already, my dad knew what to do. Like nearly every father since the invention of the bicycle itself, he said, “Ok, I’m going to hold you steady and push, just to let you get your balance. Don’t worry, I won’t let go.” And so he pushed the bike, and got me up to speed, and told me to peddle real fast, and of course, he let go… I’d like to say that I triumphantly rode off down the street as my dad looked on with pride in a touching moment, but instead I panicked, and flailed around until I crashed the bike into the sidewalk and skinned both my knees. I was livid. I couldn’t believe he let go! I screamed and pouted through the rest of the lesson, but somehow he convinced me to keep trying and patiently stayed out with me all afternoon until I learned.
When I think about Father’s day, and what it means to be a dad, I can help but think about that afternoon. Dads push us to test our wings, believe in us no matter what, and know that we are stronger than we think we are. Dads give us the courage to try, and the reassurance to try again. Dads never let us give up, because they never give up on us.