I like kids who take the initiative. It might be about joining a club, inviting friends over, starting a new hobby or project, or just about anything that expresses their personalities in action. Kids who hang back and only follow parental orders never develop independence. They are too passive and not self-reliant enough. If they don’t do this on their own, you have to encourage them with special rewards. You have to provide any motivation that isn’t there.

With my son, there is plenty of that to go around. He went out and bought a new bike with his own money. He had saved for weeks and months using money earned from cutting the grass, raking the leaves, cleaning the garage, scrubbing the porch, and washing the car. There was a job he would turn down. I knew something was afoot. He had been talking about a new bike for a while, and it pleased me no end that he didn’t just expect me to give it to him as when he was a small boy. Most of his friends wither delivered papers or performed tasks for the neighbors like walking their dogs. He took that as a good example and quickly jumped on board. I am very proud of him. Don’t you wish all kinds took this kind of initiative? It makes for stronger adults. Kids now are too coddled and don’t know how to make their way in the world.

It’s a great used bike with plenty of miles left on the tires. Most of the parts are working and all it needs is a little oil. It is comfortable except for the seat so I decided to replace the bike saddle with a better one that I found here. They are easy to find at bike stores or junkyards and we made it our special projects to refurbish it. We cleaned the leather and applied a special stain just for this purpose. He had worked so hard to get the bike that I wanted to make sure it was a comfortable ride. We learned how to attach and adjust the seat with a few tools in the garage, and now my son could alter it anyway he wanted after a few test rides.

I love these mom and me projects and so does my son. It is part of why he is an initiator. He wants to please and involve me. It is the best way I know to bond with him since I don’t play his kind of sports or like to watch his preferred video games. Somehow in his daily life I used to get lost in the shuffle. It just so happens that he found the solution on his own. He later confessed that he had hoped I would help him repair and restore the bike. I could also help him paint or at least suggest some nice colors. It was truly a labor of mother-son love.