I never can remember ever liking school as a child. Most of my memories are of recess and girls. However, I do recall springtime in grade school. It was during that time that I was allowed to ride my bike to school. I can still remember breathing the cool, damp air as we road past the foundry and the ice plant, and across the railroad tracks, to the East End Elementary School. I remember very little about the destination but the journey is still vivid in my mind. The trip was only about two miles long but it seemed like an adventure. My neighborhood friends and I would gather up for the trip each morning. We looked like a future motorcycle gang and we had the nicknames to match. I’m glad my parents gave me such freedom.
It seems today that we parents tie, too tightly, the hands of our children. We have a hard time distinguishing between things that matter and things that don’t. Too many times we demand that our children like the things that we do because they are “right.” We forget that each generation has its own styles and fads. Many of them are not right or wrong, just different. For instance, it was once thought that long hair was a sin. This came from loose interpretations of the scripture. We soon found out that it was just a different generation finding its own style. Some called it rebellion; and while some may have been rebelling, others were just trying to be “cool” just like we did when we were young.
The Bible commands us as parents to “not make our children angry by the way we treat them.” This simply means don’t agitate them with things that only serve to make them mad. Now what does all of this have to do with my early childhood bike trips? It means that my parents could have said no to those trips for several reasons; but because they said yes a lot, their no’s had more meaning. They hated my 70’s bellbottoms and platform shoes. They also hated my leisure suits and long hair. But they remembered that a few years before, it was their parents who hated much of what they wore and most of the fads of those days. And in the end, those things didn’t matter.
There’s a lot of difference between what’s right and wrong, and what is simply taste. And it would serve us well to know the difference.