Fear can be a very crippling emotion. When I was little, my biggest fear was falling off of a bicycle. I was always afraid of bicycles because I watched my best friend fall off of one and break her arm. As I got older, however, I realized that learning how to ride a bike could be very beneficial, as well as a lot of fun. Something I did not know at the time, however, was that learning how to ride would end up being beneficial to me in other ways as well.
One day, when I was about eight years old, I asked my grandfather if he would teach me how to ride the bicycle he had bought for me two years earlier. He looked at me and said, Are you finally ready, honey? After telling him yes, my grandfather said that he would take me out that Saturday and give me my first riding lesson.
As Saturday approached, I grew more and more apprehensive. Part of me was really looking forward to learning how to ride, while the other part of me was scared to death of falling off and getting hurt. My grandfather seemed to sense my fear, and when Saturday arrived, he took me to the local bicycle shop. We went straight to the section of the store that had all kinds of knee and elbow pads, as well as other protective equipment for riding bicycles, skating, and other activities. He told me to pick out the knee and elbow pads I liked best and said that they would help prevent me from getting hurt if I fell off of my bike.
When we got back home, he helped me put on my pads and then went and got my bicycle out of the garage. He showed...