Mother knew how to teach independence better than most parents. Although it is an important lesson to learn, it should not be at the expense of your children. In Mother’s case, that is exactly how she taught this important lesson.
My sister and I did not have a bicycle when we moved to Decatur. Luckily our neighbors did and were more than willing to share. Abby learned quickly and was taller so could actually sit on the seat. I had to stand up and pump the pedals like crazy to keep the bicycle upright.
In those days, alleys were common and almost always covered with cinders. Cinders are small chopped up pieces of black coal very similar to glass. Not exactly a child friendly surface. I headed down the alley at a fast pace on the borrowed bicycle. The tires squealed and I hit the brakes a bit too hard. Next thing I knew I was on the ground with my knees covered in cinders.
I ran into our home with blood dripping looking for Mother. She was disturbed by my crying and promptly chastised me. Instead of embracing me, she yelled:
Well, if you’re going to stand here and cry you may as well do it somewhere where you won’t bother me. Otherwise, get back outside and play.
I quickly learned to buck up and realize that hunting for sympathy from Mother was wasted effort. My new motto was to save the tears for a different audience.