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A Fathering Moment to Remember

It was a fathering moment to remember.

My 8 year-old daughter and I were playing around on the driveway when I popped the question. "Do you want to try your two wheeler bike?" "Sure," she said, "I'll go get it."

I was surprised by her willingness to try. Even though I believed she could have learned to ride a two-wheeler years ago, I had stayed patient and hoped she would develop a desire to try.

I flashed back to many of my experiences with her when she was younger. So often I was confused about how to respond, especially when things got messy emotionally. Her mom often saved me and came to the rescue.

I felt more in my element now. There was teaching to be done. Clear steps would be taken with a desired result. This was the territory of a father!

"Daddy, keep it steady!" As I helped her to balance on the bike, I wondered what the instructions should be to help her on her first ride. Should I fill her head with instructions, or should I just push her and let her go? "Daddy, let's go, push me!" She answered my question, and I started to push.

So here I was, pushing my daughter towards a little more independence. Helping her to learn a skill she'd have for the rest of her life. One small step away from dependence on her parents and towards an eventual life of her own.

I ran alongside her, and then I let her go.

She wobbled a bit, but she started down the road. I felt excitement, exhilaration, and sadness all at once. "Keep pedaling, keep pedaling!" I shouted.

She stopped abruptly and turned around. "Daddy, stop yelling that, you're making me almost fall!"

The hissing sound was the deflation of a fathers' pride. "Sorry, honey, go ahead." I muttered. It looked like I'd still be waiting for my first "perfect" fathering moment.

Moments later, Sarah came by on her bike and gave me a look that showed pure joy and excitement. She had overcome her fear and was bursting with pride. It brought a tear to my eye and an immense gratitude for being so very lucky.

I won't soon forget the look she gave me, and I hope she won't ever forget this moment we shared together.

It may not have been perfect, but it certainly was enough.

Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches men to be better fathers and husbands. He is the author of "25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers" Sign up for his FREE bi-weekly newsletter, "Dads, Don't Fix Your Kids," at

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