Saturday, May 25, 2013

A little incentive

We started teaching Bilal to ride his bike several months ago. He started to balance and could ride a little in a straight line, but would topple off and refuse to get back on his bike, usually for days or sometimes even weeks. So we decided he really needs to learn properly this summer. Considering yesterday he insisted we just need to sell his bike, I figured it was a bit of a long shot.

This morning the three kids were sitting with me in the back yard, and the bike riding discussion started up again. I promised either Safa or Hamza $25 to teach their baby brother to ride a bicycle confidently. When there were no takers I suggested $30. Safa said $50, so I figured, heck, why not? And since the summer has just started I needed something to persuade to start the endeavor immediately. I pledged an additional ten dollars if Bilal was riding independently by the end of the first week in June. But the one thing that prompted Hamza to jump up and get started on the task was my offer of another $5 if they started today. I could see my fourteen year old quickly doing the addition in his head. A lot of money at stake!

Not long after, I was on the phone chatting with a friend. About half an hour after Hamza and Bilal had left the back yard, I got called to come out and take a look at what was going on.

There he was, on his bike, riding out of the garage, turning around the corner on to the driveway, making a turn in the lawn and riding back to the garage, followed by a graceful stop inside. He didn't falter a single time! And Hamza was feeling rather smug, as he told me I owed him $65.

I later learned that Hamza had given him a little incentive of his own, he offered to forgive his debt (he claimed baby brother owed him $10 for breaking a piece off his computer case), and also offered him one of his Nerf guns if he would try to ride. But no promise to share the booty!

That was probably the quickest and easiest $65 Hamza has ever earned. But I have to admit it was worth it!

Now only if we could get Bilal to learn to swim the same way. That's the next challenging project!


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