This summer, while camping, our three-year-old learned how to ride his bike without training wheels (yes, prepare yourself for many “proud mama bear” blog posts from this principal). Earlier in the summer, he was hesitant to try, enjoying the ease and speed with which he cruised the side streets of East Abbotsford on his orange bike with training wheels, worried about change and losing the success he had.

But, on a sunny morning, with two parents who had time to give and a dedication to the cause, he officially rode his bike on two wheels, all by himself.

Riding With Glee

At first, it wasn’t pretty. There was resistance. There were lots of wobbles and even some tears. But slowly and with his people supporting him, he figured it out. He could bike farther and with better balance. He felt more confident and didn’t require one of us to jog beside him. Pretty soon we were biking alongside each other around the campground loop.

Over the next few weeks, he improved his skills. He learned to stop without falling. With the help of his uncle he learned to start by himself. Then thanks to some older cousins, he even figured out how to skid. Now we get daily requests to go for bike rides. He rides with glee, sometimes laughing out loud to himself as the wind blows in his face and he experiences freedom, success, and the joy of accomplishing something hard.

Wobbles with Grace

Today, I’m sitting at my new desk, in my new office, with a new job description and a new to-do list. I can’t help but compare my upcoming journey as your principal with my son’s experience of learning to ride his bike. I know that I have great people to support and mentor me, but the training wheels have come off and I know there will be wobbles and probably some tears, up ahead. I humbly ask for your prayers and your patience and grace as I will fall, dust myself off, and try again. I look forward to riding with glee.

Pedaling Forward

In many ways everyone in our ACS community is learning to ride a bike without training wheels this year. COVID-19 has brought us to a school year like none other. We are all learning to move forward without having figured out how to balance in this reality. Over the next few days, weeks, and months we will learn how to do school in new ways, we will wobble, help each other, adjust, and slowly pick up speed as we pedal forward together in faith.

When I think about how my husband and I (like all parents) supported, encouraged, and cheered on our son as he learned to ride his bike, I hope and pray we can do the same for each other at ACS this year.