I read a quote a while ago that said, “Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.” I am on this band wagon.
Now, while I am also a big proponent of helping our children learn and especially teaching them to make good choices (which comes with allowing them to actually make choices and can result in a fair amount of correction on my part) I also REALLY identify with this idea. I want my kids to be who they are, not what someone else says they should be. I want them to explore and try new things and fail sometimes so that they become confident in the person they choose to become.
As part of that idea, I have spent a fair amount of time these last months at local skate parks.
I have a son who is determined to become a skate boarder (not professionally, necessarily, he just wants to master the skills). I LOOOOVE it when my kids decide they want to learn something new and are willing to work on it and practice their little hearts out so YOU BET I am going to encourage him in this.
Parker works for hours on his ollies and fakies and spins and is trying to learn to kick flip. He watches "how to" videos on Youtube to learn new tricks or improve his skills. He has become much more confident and controlled in is riding these past months and I love watching him grow.
Now, I have heard some comments from other parents about how skate parks are full of bad influences and the skating world is not a place I should encourage my child to be. I know there are problems in that arena sometimes. I promise I am not blind to that possibility and I'll be honest it does concern me (I can be fairly overprotective at times). I also know there are problems in dugouts and on sidelines and in orchestra pits and backstage and that bad influences will pop up EVERYWHERE because that is how the world works.
Instead of being hostage to that, I choose to encourage and support my little ones in the things that interest them (within reason, I'm not going to help them become the best little drug dealer on the block) and then do my best to teach them about goodness and virtue and step back to allow them to make choices. It takes courage on the part of the parent to do this because you never know what will happen, they just might fail or head into something you don't think is right for them.
But VERY often I end up surprised by my children's integrity and am thrilled in the way they stand up for what they know is right (not every time, mind you, but mistakes can be great learning opportunities and I'd rather they make those mistakes and learn those lessons while under my wing then when they are off on their own later on). I expect my kids to make poor choices sometime, but if I teach them how to make choices now, while they are young, when I can be right there with them to help them repair the damage and come back to center then hopefully they will have learned that good choices generally equal good outcomes and more happiness in life. If I, instead, make all their choices for them then they will not have mastered the skill of positive decision making and their failures will be in a much less forgiving world than the one we have created here at home.
I would rather let them learn to make their own choices while the choices are fairly small and the outcomes essentially harmless than wait for them to experiment with decision making when the outcomes could be much more painful.
Enough of my rant.
So, anyway, skate parks. Fun for the whole family and encouragement for a son who is branching out in his own way.
(And as a side note, we have been very fortunate to run into wonderful people when we have been at the parks, many of whom can do incredible things and who often take a moment or two to encourage or teach our youngsters something new.)
|Ellie loves to ride her bike down the ramps.|
|Gavin likes to "shred" on his scooter.|
Parker just doesn't quit. He tries things again and again until he starts to conquer the skill. I think it is an amazing thing to see.
Gavin and Ellie normally get tired of the park long before Parker does, but they are normally pretty patient while we give him a few extra minutes.
My little sk8er boi.