A Burnt Child Dreads the Fire

Life’s best life lessons come from painful experiences. A child who once scalds himself at the fire will forever refrain from pressing close to the repeat of any such situation, in future. This proverb goes on to say that traumatic experience in a formative age acts as a deterrent for all future endeavours. But one needs to be able to overcome this mental block if one wishes to be successful and evolve in life.

This is the story of a small boy named Sam. He was extremely active, energetic and friendly. But a small mishap in the initial days of toddler hood when he had just about mastered the nuances of riding a bicycle, left him with a long standing fear. The injury was not so much physical as psychological. He refused to mount his cycle and always found excuses to indulge in other sports while the cycle remained unused and underutilized.

In spite of his mother’s best persuasion, he would remain in the side-lines and watch others ride their cycle but did not himself make any effort to get back into the groove. His mother, however, kept his cycle polished and oiled, in the hope that one day he would find his courage back.

Sam, on the other hand was contented to play around with his friends Billy and Tilly. But even the coaxing of his friends could not make him emerge from his self-withdrawn shell.

Next year, there was a tandem cycle competition held in the building complex in which Billy and Tilly put forth their names. They practiced hard to win the trophy but on the final day of reckoning, Tilly twisted her ankle and Billy was left with no partner. Sam, watched his friend, sad and withdrawn, at the thought of giving up on this race without even participating in it. Sam disappeared from the spot and could be found nowhere. It was only when the final announcement for the race was made that  Sam could be seen coming to the ground in his helmet and cycling gear. Billy was beside himself with joy to find that his friendship had spurred Sam to mount the tandem cycle, in face of much misgiving in order to lend a supporting hand to his friend. The cheers and the encouragement they received from the other children made them come out as runners- up in the race. But, for Sam’s mother, that day this was a triumph, like no other. Since then, every evening the three friends could be seen cycling around in circles in their building complex ground but with full safety gear on.

At an early age, Sam‘s love for his friend had helped him overcome his fear of cycling and realized that his apprehension were unfounded. Injuries and obstacles are a way of life to teach us to exercise better caution next time and strive with greater resilience.  Giving up and surrendering is never an option for those who truly wish to triumph.

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