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Bike locks and Beatles make for good parenting lesson

Wayne’s World
by Wayne Chan

There’s no two ways about it – being a parent is a humbling experience.

Generally, I think I know what I’m doing.  Be fair, but be consistent.  Give your kids a helping hand but don’t do everything for them.  Love them unconditionally.  For the most part, that covers about 80 percent of anything I ever face.  Unfortunately, that leaves about 20% of the time where I can make a complete idiot of myself.

A perfect example – the case of the unlocked bicycle.

A few days ago, I was in charge of delivering snacks and drinks to my son Tyler’s junior varsity tennis team.  Also, I knew that Tyler had a doctor’s appointment right after the match so the timing would be pretty tight.

Smart logistical dad that I am, I decided that on my way to the tennis match, that I should pick up Tyler’s bike which he rides to school every day, which would save us the time of having him pick up the bike before we could make it to the doctor’s office.

Way to think ahead dad!  I should have been a professional chess player. Anyways, as I pull up to the bike racks, I see Tyler’s bike, sitting in the bike rack, without a lock on it.  

You may ask, well, why doesn’t he have a lock?  That’s a logical question, but my answer would be, the bike did have a lock.  It was wrapped around the frame of the bike.  Tyler apparently decided that he’d forego the whole pesky bike locking process in favor of a more “laissez-faire, who would ever think of stealing my expensive unlocked bike sitting alone in a bike rack” philosophy.

I have a theory on teenagers.  My theory is that all teenagers, in their developmental years, have skulls so thick that it crowds out 99% of any brain matter that would normally be there.  I believe this developmental stage is called, “Boneheadia Screwupity”.

As I make my way to the tennis courts, I approach Tyler and feel it is my fiduciary responsibility to bring up the unlocked bike situation.

Me:  Ty – how can you not lock up your bike, especially when you have a perfectly good bike lock right on the bike?
Tyler:  I dunno.
Me:  I mean, you have this expensive bike – how can you be so careless not to lock it up!
Tyler:  I’ve left it unlocked all year long and no ones ever taken it.  How can you be so sure that someone will take it?
Me:   Because I did the same thing in high school and somebody swiped my bike!!!

As I said, being a parent is a humbling experience.  But let me end this column on a very happy note.

This is kind of a big deal for me.  First, besides Tyler, we are also the parents of Ethan and Savannah.  The three of them are triplets and they are 16 years old.  Beyond that, Ethan and Savannah are autistic.  They don’t speak much but they are terrific kids.

Secondly, I love the Beatles.  So, last night, I took all three kids to a Beatles tribute show - I knew Tyler would love it, but to be honest, I only took Ethan and Savannah because the tickets were inexpensive and I didn’t have anyone to watch them at home anyways. They’d never expressed any interest in the Beatles that I could ever tell. I just figured it would be a nice night out with the kids while Mom was away on business.

When the show started, Savannah started bobbing her head, and stood up and started dancing and singing - she knew the words to “Hey Jude”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Get Back” and many others. This is coming from my daughter, who normally doesn’t say more than one or two words at a time.

Of course, I play the Beatles in the car a lot when I’m driving them around, but I really had no idea that she would pick up on that. She sang along with many of the songs, with a big smile on her face. Tyler and I were on each side of her and we kept looking at her, amazed.

I can’t tell you how blown away I was in seeing her like this. I will never underestimate her again.

At one point, she sang the words to “Blackbird”.  

Blackbird singing in the dead of night.  
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.

Fifteen words that mean so much more to me now.  And that truly is, a humbling experience.

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