“Let’s go, Mom! Yeeee-hawww!” He zips down the driveway, daring me to keep up. A welcome hand-me-down 10 years ago, even then it was faded and well-loved. Girl, boy, girl, boy. They’ve all sped around on the faded purple tricycle, grinning ear to ear. Sure, we’ve been tempted to replace it over the years, especially while trailing behind our boys pedaling purple and pink. I’m glad we haven’t, though, if only for the lessons remembered.
Give thanks in all circumstances.
Trailing behind our kids riding the faded purple contraption is humbling. People can see them! They can see us! It’s old and girly! What will our friends and neighbors think?!
But as with all things, we are learning gratitude. Our kids have a tricycle! It was free! It’s lasted through four rough riders, and the fifth one spends hours stretching to reach the pedals. Our children are healthy and whole and have been able to ride it with little help. Their scrapes and bruises brought on by over-confidence and cracks in the sidewalk have healed beautifully. They’ve moved on to training wheels and two-wheelers with lightning speed. There is much to be thankful for.
Children don’t see color. Or rust.
As often as we have thought about replacing the tricycle for a newer, more visually pleasing model, our children have never complained. It rides great! They’ve never said a word about the trike that doesn’t involve bragging about how fast they can pedal around the corner. Little children don’t see color. Or rust. Or many of the glaring faults and differences that attract the attention of adults. We are the ones who teach them what’s important. We are the ones who tell them what and who is or isn’t good enough.
We are the ones with the power and influence. We can teach them to appreciate what they have and ride joyfully, saving for what they’ll need and want, or we can teach them that bright and shiny and new at all costs is the only way to ride.
These seasons are temporary.
The faded purple tricycle serves its purpose, and we are well aware that its purpose is temporary. Constantly chasing after new, shiny objects that will most certainly be replaced is a futile effort. Our desires will never be satiated.
Seasons of struggle are just that: seasons. It’s okay to not have every perfect thing right this very minute. It’s admirable to sacrifice and work hard for a goal. It’s good to be happy with what we have, even when what we have has seen better days.
Tell that money where to go.
Yes, we most certainly can afford to buy a Radio Flyer complete with a bell and streamers. It’d be pretty cool to watch our kids zip around town pedaling a fancy new ride. The money is there, but it’s not endless. We must prioritize and tell that money where to go.
For now, there are other things that trump new wheels for our toddlers and preschoolers when the wheels they have roll just fine. Would a $50 bike make or break our other needs and goals? Likely not, but one $50 drop in the bucket follows another and another, and it does add up. The faded purple tricycle is a reminder to us and our children that we make sacrifices in order to prioritize other needs and wants. Maybe it’s new curtains for the living room, or perhaps it’s a monthly child sponsorship. Save more, give more! The money will go somewhere. It’s better that we be in charge of where it goes.
It’s not about the vehicle, it’s about the ride. Hang on tight and enjoy!
Do you have a faded purple tricycle? A well-loved vehicle? An ugly stroller? A couch with strategically placed throw pillows? The old and ugly don’t define us, but our attitude about them may very well!