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The wisdom of an 11-year-old

By James Durand

By James Durand

“Dad, just because you love it, doesn’t mean I will, we can have different passions.”

That was the wisdom from my eight-year-old daughter a few years ago, who is clearly wiser than her years.

At that point it was like pulling teeth to get her out for a bike ride, but when I did get her to join me, she would enjoy it, so despite her comments, I hung onto some hope, but backed off completely.

It hit home a bit. She was right, and if her interests are different from mine, that is totally OK, I had to adapt.

There are certain things she loves to do that feel like nails on a chalk board for me, so I avoid those, but we also have some common interests and we have a blast when doing that stuff, so even without biking, we’re pretty good buddies.

I get my bike riding fix with friends, solo, or sometimes with my son, and I save non-biking time for Rhyley. And then about six months ago, out of nowhere, “Hey Dad, want to go mountain biking?”

I expected a ride around the neighbourhood, or maybe to the park, but she actually wanted to hit the trails behind our house, and off we went for a great little ride, just me and Rhyley.

So, me being me, I starting scheduling all the future rides, planning skill progression, and dreaming of that epic all day “Daddy Daughter ride” in Whistler, or maybe a summer road trip with both kids.

Then a little voice in my head told me to slow down. Ironically, it was Rhyley’s voice and her comment from three years ago.

It bugs me that she is so much more patient than me, and obviously a little smarter, but hey, if you can’t learn from your kids?

Using all my willpower, I left it alone, and soon after I was invited to ride with her again, and again, and again. Never my idea, and never my schedule, but we’d get out once in a while for a short ride in the trails.

My willpower is only so strong though, so with much trepidation, I took a leap of faith last week.

I was taking the dog for a ride, and trying to look like it was a last minute idea, and as casually as possible, I asked, “Hey Rhyley, I’m taking the dog to Radar Hill, want to come for a ride?” Then I winced a little bit.

“Sure dad, that sounds like fun. Just you and I?” she asked.

“Yep, but there’s some steep climbing and a few parts you might walk,” I said expecting a quick retraction.

“Sweet, let’s go” she replied.

We had a great ride, she climbed a bunch of stuff she didn’t expect to clean, she walked a few bits of the DH that she wants to attempt next time, and despite it being longer than I promised, and her few minutes of whining along the way, she was stoked at the end.

And after all that, I’ve never been so proud. Sure Rhyley did great, yeah whatever … but I actually practiced patience for the first time I can remember in 54 years. Who says you can’t beat new tricks into an old dog.

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…