The rain fell despite the young boy’s protest. He stood on the front porch, staring out towards the wet black pavement on the street. He gazed up at the sky, shook his fist and yelled, “Stop it!”
The sky answered with a far away rumble of thunder and refused to comply.
The boy yelled louder, his voice building to an almost panicked crescendo. “Stop it. Stop it! STOP RAINING!”
Distant lightening flashed a reply, followed a few seconds later with a defiant thunderous laugh.
The boy sat down on the top step of the porch and began to cry, the tears dripping to his lap as he watched a few bold drops of rain splash their way to the toes of his tennis shoes. He looked up at the edge of the porch roof, then pulled his feet back against the step, trying to keep them well within the drip line. He thought he could already feel his toes getting wet.
The bang of the screen door behind him made him jerk and spin his head around. His dad was standing on the porch behind him, staring out at the dark wet sky. Still gazing at the sky, he casually asked “What was all the yelling about?”
The boy stuck out his lower lip and grumbled, “It won’t stop raining. I can’t make it stop raining.”
The dad started to chuckle, then caught himself. This was serious business to the little boy, and if it was important to his boy, then it was important to the father. He mustered a more serious tone, then replied. “Of course it will stop raining. But not because you want it to. And certainly not because you scream at the sky.”
“Then how do I get it to stop?” asked the boy.
“You don’t,” said the father.
“Then when will I ever get to ride my bike?”
“Well,” the father paused for a second, “I suppose when you decide to.”
“But I want to ride now,” whined the boy.
“Then ride,” the father replied.
“I can’t. I’ll get wet!”
The father let a faint smile infect his face. “Now that’s a different issue all together, isn’t it?”
The boy crooked his head around and gave his father an irritated look. “I want to ride my bike but I can’t because it won’t stop raining.”
The father took a deep breath and slowly sat down by his young son. “As I see it, ” he said, “there are at least two things going on here. One you can’t control, and one you can. You can’t control the weather. You can’t make it stop raining. It will stop when the storm is over and not before. But . . . ” he pursed his lips then opened his mouth with a little smack. “You can control when and how you ride your bike. You could ride your bike right now. You just have to be willing to get wet. Or maybe you have to be willing to wear a rain coat. Or maybe you could practice doing wheelies under the shelter of the front porch. You can’t control the weather, but that doesn’t mean you can’t control what you do in it.”
The boy looked up at his dad with a quizzical look on his face. His eyes widened a little as a mischievous grin invaded his face. “I’m going bike riding,” he said.
A few minutes later, the boy was cruising through the puddles just so he could watch the water splash. It had been a long time since he had this much fun riding his bike. The rain water was still splashing his sneakers, but he hardly even notice that his feet were wet.