Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Not All About You

Last week was my week to volunteer at the iCan Shine Bike Camp. They come to town once a year with their fleet of special bikes designed for teaching kids with special needs to ride on two wheels. It's always a good time. Lots of smiles, high fives, cheering....

This year I was assigned to work with B. We struggled a bit with the pedaling concept. He got it some on the freewheel bike, but on Friday when it came time to ride his own bike with coaster brakes, we hit a wall. We were frustrated. He wanted to ride. I wanted him to ride. B speaks little, communicating mostly with gestures, but he didn't need to speak to tell me how defeated he felt.

At one point, we were taking a quick stop, readjusting his feet. His head was hung. He'd just thrown up his hands in exasperation. While we were stopped, I noticed another kid finally get off on two wheels. Teacher instincts kicked in and I yelled, "Go O!"

Without missing a beat, B yelled, "Go O," too, momentarily forgetting his own frustration.

At first I thought he was just imitating me, but then I realized he'd been doing this all week. Every time he noticed someone doing well, he cheered. When someone struggled, he said, "Uh oh." It dawned on me in that moment, as he let go of his own frustration for someone else's benefit, that this kid had something a lot of us lack- the ability to realize that it's not always about him. In fact, I saw him show more empathy toward others in a week than most of us probably show in a lifetime.

Later, his mom and I were chatting. She explained that she'd planned on four kids, but then he came along as her third and he was like two.  She said it so simply, with so little judgement or regret, that before I knew it I'd responded with, "So then he was a gift? Two in one?"

"Yes,"she said, "he was most definitely a gift."

How lucky she is for this gift of a kid with a great big heart. How lucky he is to have a mama who appreciates him so much.  How lucky I am for getting to learn from them both.

1 comment:

  1. A powerful message!!
    Thanks for sharing!!
    Pedal On!!