Unschooling Blog, Vol. 49: Learning to Drive, Ride a Bike, and...How NOT to Wreck! (The importance of making mistakes)

in unschooling •  5 months ago

So much of learning anything...maybe all of learning anything...is learning what not to do, and what the goal...isn't.

The brave dude after his first real bike wreck.

My son and I visited a really cool park today not too far from our house. It's one of those unique-type little "amusement parks" you find all over Japan. Very small, very interesting, and a lot of fun. The park features go-karts, a pedal-powered monorail which encompasses the playground, and a miniature "town," complete with traffic lights, crosswalks, and railroad crossings, where kids can practice their "driving." I put "driving" in quotes, because this is all done on bicycles provided by the park, but the result is just the same: kids can get a feel for driving on the street, in the correct lanes, with real traffic rules. Fucking cool, yeah?

(You can check out a fun video of our day at the park here: YouTube DLive)


Anyway, on his way back to the "parking lot" to return his bike, Isaiah misjudged the size of a small curb and took a tumble, the bike falling right on top of him. He had fallen kind of face down, and twisted his head around, resulting in the frame of the bike scraping across his neck. Or he may have scraped his neck on the curb. That's the best I can piece it together, at least. It was all kind of a blur. He was shocked, and began to moan and cry. I walked over and picked him up, looking him over.

He had had his first official "bike wreck." He was in the big leagues now. With the big boys.

After taking a drink of water and calming down a bit, we talked about crashing, and how sometimes it happens. He seemed more upset by the shock and surprise of it, than anything else. He also seemed to feel a bit upset that he had made a mistake. One thing I never want him to be ashamed or afraid of is making a mistake. I assured him that that is how we all learn, and that, without mistakes, we couldn't know all the things we're not supposed to do. In other words, crashing is part and parcel of learning how to ride a bike.


After we returned to the car and got some AC going, and were heading back to pick up my wife at her business meeting, he began to revel in his battle wound a little bit. This was exactly what I was hoping for! He told me I needed to tell mom all about it, and show her the picture, too. I assured him I would, and he seemed content with this. Later, walking into the restaurant where the meeting was held, he told me "It doesn't really hurt anymore. Just a little." He seemed satisfied to have had the experience and emerged the wiser, the tougher. This, of course, made dad feel pretty good as well. He held my hand as we walked to the door, ready to regale the aromatherapy ladies with his heroic and harrowing struggle, from which he had emerged the decided and unquestionable victor, ready to ride again soon and...this time...take care to watch the curb.


(Thanks for stopping by! If you missed the last installment of Unschooling Blog, Vol. 48: "Stop Motion Animation Fun," you can find that HERE.)



Graham Smith is a Voluntaryist activist, creator, and peaceful parent residing in Niigata City, Japan. Graham runs the "Voluntary Japan" online initiative with a presence here on Steem, as well as DLive and Twitter. (Hit me up so I can stop talking about myself in the third person!)

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Looks like your boy is a tough little geezer! I'm sure he'll be fine and learn from his fall :)


Haha. Cheers.

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That park looks amazing! I'm not far behind you with Esteban. The light cuts & bruises have only just begun...

As you say, it's how we all learn and nothing to be ashamed of. The more war wounds the better!

Your camera has an amazing stabiliser. Am curious to know what you are using?


Yep, all part of growing up!

Thanks for the kind words. The park is great! If you and fam are ever in Japan be sure to look us up!

As for the camera, its just an iPhone 7.

A good lesson to learn. We all fall off our bikes when first learning to ride and I think it is good to let kids experience some failures and disappointments because they will encounter them sometime in life. Good job handling it Dad! He'll remember the expeirence and tell his kids about it someday!

Its not that hard a man learns from his mistakes and practice makes a man perfect so keep practicing and educate him.