“Dad,” my son said wistfully as he stared out the car window, “we used to ride all over this town.” His voice had the nostalgic tone of an old man, but he was only six or seven years old.
Now he's nearly 22, and the memory of his childhood reminiscing that day still makes me smile
We had moved to Santa Fe, N.M., just before his third birthday. I worked nights on the copy desk at a newspaper, and one of our favorite things to do together most weekdays was to cruise through town on my mountain bike as he rode in a child's seat on the back. Sometimes, we’d stop and share a Coke. Or we’d ride to the Plaza and play in the grass.
Those are of some of my favorite memories as a dad. Later, I racked up more memories riding in Alaska while towing my daughter on her trail-a-bike. I still smile when I remember the sound of her gleefully yelling, “Go faster!” as we rolled down hills on the Coastal Trail. And I’ll never forget the day she realized her own strength and told me to stop pedaling, then proceeded to put the hammer down and propel us both past her unsuspecting (and coasting) big brother.
The look on his face when he saw that his much younger sister was pushing his much heavier dad into the lead sent Hannah into a priceless fit of laughter.
As far as I’m concerned, those are the kinds of moments that politicians are talking about when they spew platitudes about “family values.” It would be nice if more of them understood the term.
We all know politicians are the masters of producing bad ideas but, occasionally, one of them manages to outdo himself.
Rep. Mitch Greenlick, a Democrat, recently introduced House Bill 2228 in the Oregon Legislature, a proposal that, according to the bill’s summary, “Prohibits person from carrying child under six years of age on bicycle or in bicycle trailer. Punishes by maximum fine of $90.”
I cannot begin to fathom the motivation behind such an absurd idea. In a country where obesity is reaching epidemic proportions, and stressed, overworked parents often spend only minutes per day interacting with their children, this guy believes Oregon’s children would be better off not going for bike rides with their parents?
What the hell?
Active kids are shaped from an early age. One of the best things a parents can do for children is to teach them to go outside and play. Kick balls. Sled down hills. Ride bicycles. It teaches them about healthy lifestyles, and helps them become happier adults.
Who knows? It might even help keep them from becoming politicians.