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When I was a kid, one of the first things we were taught was how to ride a bike and how to swim. The two seemed to travel in tandem. I can't remember who it was (probably Einstein or similar ) who said that the secret to riding a bicycle was to keep moving forward. 

In the case of swimming, it is often about keeping your head above water and treading water when you are tired or feeling sunk.

 As a child, my parents taught us the value of being thrown in the deep end. After we had mastered the essentials in the local community swimming pool, we were initiated into the deep waters of the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand. It was like a baptism of faith in many respects: faith in them to be there if we got into strife and faith in our own ability to stay afloat and get back to the boat safely. 

My maternal grandfather, stingy, tight fisted old bugger at the best of times, used to give us each 10 shillings each for Christmas. It was a rather generous gift in today's money. 

One day, he offered my brother 10 bob to swim across the swimming pool. My brother got about half way across and started to turn back and came back to the side from which he started. " Help, help, can't swim " he said as he panicked and gave up. Needless to say he did not get the promised 10 shillings, in spite of the fact that he swam the required distance. For, if he had carried on, he would have made the safety of his chosen shore and pocketed an easy profit for work well done. 

Incidentally, when my brother said " Help, help, can't swim, it was quietly said. " 

Redhead, Mum, asked him why he didn't call out and yell that he was in trouble? 

He replied " Someone might have heard me. " 

Go figure that one out. 

I think back on times when knowing how to swim or ride a bike has served me well. 

When times have gotten tough and life has sent me curve balls, I have instinctively remembered that I need to keep peddling in order to not fall down. To keep swimming or to tread water when I run out of steam. 


I may not have learned that as a Nipper, like my kids did, but I learned it as a child of parents who participated in my life and the molding of me as a future adult who could navigate the rocky roads and turbulent seas of adulthood. 

In truth, children today are swaddled in the fear of parents who, in turn, pass on that fear to their young ones. 

What is more worrying, however, is that children today aren't allowed to ride a bike without knee pads and helmets. They don't get grazed knees. They don't fall off and feel the pain of a failed bike ride down a steep hill and think to themselves " Hmm. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all. " 

You see, kids need to learn about pain. About the reality of life. And they sure as hell won't learn it attending a drag queen show at the local library. 

They will learn it by being guided by good parents who let them explore reality. 

Only yesterday, a neighbour of Redhead had a crane carry a container shed over his fence and have it placed in his backyard. The young 4 year old next door to her was taken down with his father to watch the skill of the crane driver. The father eagerly explained the precision of the move. Redhead stood with them and heard the man explain to his young son what was going on. 

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This is the same father who bought a toy truck for his little lad, replete with a tool kit so the boy could learn how to use a spanner and disassemble and reassemble a toy truck.

Parenting is not really a skill. All it is really is the ability to pass on our knowledge and hope for the best. 

We know that we had the lessons learned through falling off, hurting ourselves, thinking that we were drowning; but we managed, through good parenting to survive the challenges of childhood. 

I believe that participation badges are a bad idea. 

No one should get a medal for simply showing up. You have to be in the game and get the bruises. 

I often look at men and women in the military who wear medals and have never served an active day in a conflict zone. 


They have participation badges for doing nothing. They never rode a bike down a steep hill and never landed over the handle bars with a broken tooth.

They never swam in shark infested waters or nearly drowned in an ocean far from home. 

They didn't face an enemy in a war against an unseen adversary. 

You see, life is a metaphorical war. 

It comes in the form of cancer; government overreach; the corruption of values; the distortion of acceptable human behaviour.

And sadly, with so-called parents who never learned how to ride a bike or learn to swim. 

Everything that is wrong in this world comes down to the destruction of the Family. The denigration of Men. The destruction of womanhood. Motherhood. 

So Endeth the lesson'

 Something to think about. 

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