My two boys and I took a drive out to Kensington Metropark one afternoon to go for a bike ride. My older son, Nicholas, loves to ride his bike fast. The first time we went to Kensington he grinned from ear to ear and said, "I am having so much fun!" as he enjoyed the thrilling hills and seemingly unending bike path. Our goal on this day was to have a nice, leisurely afternoon in the park since fall has arrived and we won't get too many more indian summer days. Because my younger son, Christopher, is not so fast on his bike, I plopped him in the toddler seat on the back of my bike and let Nicholas ride with reckless abandon. He was in seventh heaven.
Kensington Metropark's bike path is an eight-mile loop around a beautiful lake. The scenery and atmsophere is breathtaking. We stumbled upon cranes, muskrats, turtles, chipmunks, swans, and other incredible wildlife as we meandered our way around the path. We were so enjoying our ride that we found ourselves at the four-mile marker or halfway point without realizing we had gone so far. I panicked when I realized that we were basically at the point of no return. Either way we had to complete another four miles to get back to our starting point.
Nicholas started complaining around this point that he was tired and his legs hurt. Crap...I thought. How in the hell am I going to get him to do another four miles? He's only five years old for pete's sake! My mind was racing with thoughts of who I could call to come and pick us up or how I could walk a bike four miles. We really didn't have a choice at this point...we had to get back on our bikes and ride. We had to get back to our car because no other viable options existed.
I told Nicholas we were pushing forward. He started to whine and complain and I realized that I needed to think of some serioulsy creative way to get him back on his bike. After realizing I had nothing creative to offer, I just basically told him that he could complain and be grumpy and make the last four miles really freakin' miserable or he could appreciate the beautiful day and realize how lucky he was to be out riding his bike amid this amazing scenery. We talked some more about our situation and I casually mentioned some really huge hills that were coming up and some fun zig zags ahead. His face brightened and with a deep breath he said, "Ok, mom, I can do this."
I love this kid.
Nicholas ended up flying down some fast hills, learned how to coast (preserve that energy!), raced with the butterflies and even earned some praise along the way. Several bikers who passed us more than once on our journey said, "good job, buddy!" and raised his spirits even more. What a great day!
When we returned to the car I told Nicholas that he has earned the distinction of being the only boy I know his age who ever rode eight miles at Kensington and lived to tell about it! We called his dad and his grandparents and told everyone within earshot when we got home. Nicholas was very deservedly proud of himself and I was even prouder. He decided to take a positive approach to a seemingly undesirable situation and completed the task without (more) complaint.
Preconceived notions are our worst enemy. What you see is what you thought before you looked. How many times have you "thought" something was going to be hard, miserable, worthless, difficult, etc. and it turned out to be just that? How could it be otherwise? You felt it was going to be hard and it was. You felt it was going to be miserable and it was. You felt it was going to be worthless and it was. You felt it was going to be difficult and it was. But, put on a happy face and put a positive spin on it and the outcome is completely different. Look for the silver lining even if you have to look really, really hard. It's really that simple. Think positive thoughts and positive things will happen. It's not rocket science.