Perhaps unsurprisingly, the unicycle has its roots in another bizarre contraption: the Penny Farthing. Breaking too hard on a Penny Farthing could easily send a rider flying over its handlebars and a long way down to the ground. After many dusty top hats and a few broken bones, some individuals learnt to save themselves from falling by balancing on the front wheel alone - a trick was invented! Soon enough, just for laughs, the rear wheel was removed completely and the unicycle was born.
Truth be told, the unicycle is a pretty inefficient mode of transport. It's far harder on your legs and far slower in a sprint than the bike in your shed; no good for carrying your shopping. You learn to ride one because it looks funny and for the simple joy of learning to do something difficult.
During our recent Circus holiday club, for a bit of fun and in a bid to set a good example to our kids, I took to the saddle and filmed my progress for some amusement. As it happens, I had some thoughts I felt worth sharing.
Learning to unicycle was seemingly impossible to begin with. I tried and I failed. I failed again and again. And again. It was awkward and alien to my body and made very little sense to me. I didn't even know what it was supposed to feel like to get any better, there was no 'click' or 'eureka' moment. After a while I began to laugh at how difficult it was!
Do not confuse impossible with difficult.
Blink and you'll miss it. Here's the punchline: I had improved!. I'd moved the bar from impossible to laughably difficult. Success is not binary: it takes effort and time.
Patience, determination and confidence to overcome obstacles are skills that we must teach our children. These skills are fuel for success in later life, so fill your child's tank now. We must fail in order to succeed...