Helmets, Rules, and Rocky Roads
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    “Helmets, Rules, and Rocky Roads,” Friend, May 2020

    Helmets, Rules, and Rocky Roads

    The author lives in Colorado, USA.

    Diego groaned. Why did his family have this rule?

    “Keep the commandments! In this there is safety; in this there is peace” (Children’s Songbook, 146–47).

    Friend Magazine, 2020/05 May

    Illustrations by Mark Robison

    “I bet I can ride faster than you!” Diego called to his older brother, Caesar, as they ran through the house. It was Saturday, and their family was going on a bike ride. Diego couldn’t wait to enjoy the sunny day.

    “Don’t forget your helmets!” Mom reminded them as they headed for the door.

    Diego groaned. He hated wearing his helmet. It made his head sweaty. Plus, his friends said helmets were for babies and old people.

    “But we’re not going far,” Diego said. “And I’m a really good bike rider.”

    “It doesn’t matter,” Mom said. “Whether we’re going five feet or five miles, everybody wears a helmet.”

    Dad poked his head around the corner. “That’s the family rule, remember?”

    Diego sighed. “OK.” He and Caesar went back to their room. They grabbed their helmets and snapped them in place before heading outside.

    Soon Diego and his family were all pedaling down the street. After a while, the road narrowed, and the pavement turned into gravel. Diego smiled and gripped the handle bars tighter. He loved this part! He imagined himself as a mountain biker, bumping down a rocky trail.

    Then it happened.

    He felt his bike jolt to a stop, and suddenly he was flying over the handlebars!

    THUD. The next thing he knew, Diego was lying on the ground. He could hear his family’s voices.

    “Is he OK?”

    “What happened?”

    “Looks like his wheel hit some metal on the road.”

    Diego opened his eyes. Everyone was kneeling around him.

    “Are you all right?” Mom asked.

    “I … I think so,” Diego said. It felt like his mouth was full of dirt! He stretched out his leg and winced. His knee and elbow were stinging, but nothing hurt too much. After Diego rested for a few minutes, Mom helped him sit up. Diego took off his helmet.

    “Oh wow,” Dad said. “Look at this.” He held Diego’s helmet out for everyone to see. The back of the helmet had a big dent in it.

    “Woah!” Caesar said. “That could’ve been your head!”

    When Diego felt well enough to walk, he and his family pushed their bikes back home. Then Mom carefully washed Diego’s scrapes, dabbing ointment and smoothing bandages over the sore spots.

    “Thanks, Mom,” Diego said.

    “No problem, kiddo. Our first-aid kit comes in handy every once in a while.”

    “I mean thank you for making me wear my helmet,” Diego said. He ran a hand through the hair on the back of his head.

    Mom nodded and pulled him into a gentle hug. “Rules are hard to follow sometimes, and we might not always understand why they’re important,” she said. “But rules from those who love you—like Heavenly Father and Dad and me—those rules are meant to keep you safe.”

    Caesar popped into the doorway. “Dad told me to tell you that lunch is almost ready. He made quesadillas.”

    “Mmmmm,” Diego said. “Maybe some salsa will get the taste of gravel out of my mouth!”

    Everyone laughed and walked to the kitchen.

    “Don’t forget to wash your hands before we eat,” Dad said, setting a plate of the warm tortillas and melty cheese onto the table.

    “But I don’t want to wash my ha—” Diego started to say. Then he stopped himself. Maybe this was one of those rules Mom was talking about.

    “You got it, Dad,” he said. He turned to Caesar with a grin. “Race you to the sink!”