Contributed by Ethiopis Tadesse

Growing up in the heart of Arat kilo, my childhood was one people describe of as being lost to this generation. Children would gather from all parts of the neighborhood to play outdoors, everything from Hiding and seek (Akululu) to hopscotch (Segno Maksegno) to football and Bicycle riding.

What grew to be one of my favorite activities was riding the bicycle. You see we had 3 bicycles, which we would take turns playing with. The first bicycle was a small one which had training wheels on it and was left mainly for the children. The second one was bigger and in good condition, comfortable to ride. The third and last one was also larger but had been around for years and so was not in good condition. It had no training wheels- and so only the older, braver kids would use that bicycle.

At the time I was still young and just the thought of getting on that bicycle used to scare me half to death. When I got on the bike, as petite as I was at the time, the distance between me and the ground seemed to be 10 stories high! But if all the other bikes were taken- I was forced to take my chances. Getting on the bike was a challenge on its own, and every time I did- I knew there was a big chance I would fall off without getting far. And almost 90% of the time I did. I fell hard. In every direction-backward, forward and of course so many times to the side. This experience hurt me both physically and also bruised my morale.

But I never stopped getting back on that bike. At times it was because the other bikes were occupied but it was also because, over time, it got easier to fall- to fail. The more I fell, the distance of the ground seemed to get smaller and smaller. I wasn’t so scared anymore. My injuries were not so bad. And most of all, I didn’t take it so hard-personally. And over time I realized that I was getting so much better at riding that bike, but it wasn’t because I didn’t fall in the process-I did! It was because I had fallen (failed) so many times that it didn’t scare me anymore. I knew it would hurt, but I knew I could get back up and try again, and that I was getting better.

I remembered this story last month when I was invited to ride a bike after about 10 years. I jumped on the opportunity because I knew that the ground is not as far as it seems. And even if I fall, that’s just perfectly okay. So, ladies and gentlemen, I believe we all grow to learn the importance of being brave and daring in what seem to be the simplest situations- in activities as common as childhood games, that can actually teach us a life long lesson. So, from my childhood lessons, I advise you that in your life- fail as many times as you possibly can- and I assure you that you will rise as a better person.

Views reflected in this article do not necessarily reflect that of HABTAM.

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