As an ostrich knows when it is her time to give birth, my granddaughter knew that today was the day to shed her training wheels. It happened on my watch, and she simply said, out of the blue and three days after her seventh birthday, "I want to ride without my training wheels today."
It was scary as I ran alongside her, half holding her and half letting go, on the hard macadam road-till we got to a place where we met my neighbor walking home from work and I asked him for advice. He said, "Go over to the park, then you can fall all you want." It was genius and that is what we did.
The park is a community baseball field, and the minute her little pink, decaled bike with the handlebar streamers hit the spongy grass of the outfield, she found the confidence to take off from me like a baby bird on its fledgling voyage from the nest. Next she ventured onto the infield, and the sand, also being more giving than hard pavement, was deftly mastered.
I thought of Paul's chiding of the Corinthians-that he wasn't able to treat them or talk to them like mature Christians or "spiritual people" because they were still not up to it.
"I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it …" (1 Corinthians 3:2).
This retardation of the Corinthians was not a matter of normal growth delays but of some sin in their lives that they were allowing. Paul's view was that by this time they ought to be teachers (Hebrews 5:12) but that he was still unable to talk to them man to man as his spiritual peers in Christ. Perish the thought that we should be like that, that we should hold back our own growth!
But my granddaughter was now plowing ahead in her new knowledge of balance and ineffable principles of physics. She actually capsized a few times on the ride back home but I was no longer scared as I had been on the way to the park because now I knew she could do it. After she had done it once, even her stumbles didn't faze me.