The Route of the Hiawatha is a 15 mile bike path over a century old abandoned train trail in north eastern Idaho straddling the border with Montana. It’s a 2% grade downhill the entire time. It’s a long ride, but not particularly difficult, and the view is wonderful.
Zacharie did very well for most of the journey, then started to lose momentum and inspiration in the last mile. He whined. A lot.
He pouted that I had ‘pushed him too far.’ I didn’t think so. There were kids 3 and 4 yrs younger than him on the course. He was just ‘bored.’ Had it been a 14 mile trip, he would have been fine. 15 miles? Well, it just went a little longer than he would have liked.
After we loaded up and started to head back to the hotel, I asked if he had fun.
“Yes,” came the quiet answer from the back seat. I asked if I had pushed him too far. “Yes, you did daddy!,” he insisted.
“But did you do it?,” I reminded him. “Did you finish the whole trail?
“Yes,” he agreed.
“See,” I chirped in confidently. “You’re stronger than you think. You can accomplish more than you know if you try.”
I beamed at my inner Steven Keaton / Jason Seaver / Cliff Huxtable (maybe not that last guy so much anymore) messaging. I had just imparted a perfect parenting lesson to my son. I pushed him beyond his limit (sort of), got him over his own fears, and showed him how hard work equals success.
Did my son bask in the glow of enlightenment in the back seat? No.
When I tried to continue the life lesson and learning on this “very special episode,” he just grumbled at me.
“Dad. I’m just playing a game on my iPad,” he dismissed. “Ok?”