bikes planes and automobiles · community · parenting

what the flat tire taught me

The flat tire has been fixed, actually replaced with a kevlar-lined tire that is 80% puncture-proof. I’m not quite so annoyed as I was yesterday, and I’ve had some time to reflect on the whole flat tire incident.

After discovering that my tire was flat, I went into the school office to call Mr. December and let him know that he’d have to pick us up from our playdate at the park. I figured I could make it the five blocks from the school… turns out I couldn’t. On the upside, when I dismounted just 50 metres from the school entrance, another mom stopped and offered assistance. I sent the two girls to the park in her car, walked the bakfiets to my parents’ house (two blocks away) and hitched a ride back to the park with my mom (plan b was to put N in the baby seat on my mom’s bike and cycle to the park). Problem solved.

It would undoubtedly have been easier if I’d had my cellphone with me. I could have called the other girl’s mom and explained the situation. She could have met us at the school and driven all of us to the park. I could have called Mr. D at the exact moment I wanted him to come pick us up. But you know what? I found a solution (with the help of members of the community) and everyone got where they needed to go.

What I realized was this: these days parents send their kids off with cellphones, secure in the knowledge that if anything unexpected happens their child can call them for help. What our kids might be missing, though, is the opportunity to learn about problem-solving. Will they know what to do if their cellphone battery dies, or if the phone is lost or stolen? Or will they sit down helplessly and cry about it? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not sending my kid out armed with a cellphone and nothing else. Before K and N are allowed to venture forth on their own, they’re going to need to understand how to access help in our community.

Community. It’s the operative word in this post, isn’t it? Our school community helped me solve a problem. Community is a safety net for us and our kids, but only if we actively build and nurture it.

One thought on “what the flat tire taught me

  1. i LOVE this! this is great! I’m glad i came across your post. one time, when i was in college, my tire blew out on a service road in north dallas when i didn’t have a phone at 1am. I was scared. But i dared to trust that most of the people driving by were good people instead of bad people. so, i flashed my brights and a kind man changed my tire in no time and went about his business.

    i love community. and i agree that many kids are raised without street-smarts and very tech-dependent. keep it up!

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