It's not that I have anything against soccer. Or that we're into skateboarding because all the cool kids are doing it. Nor, rather, because most of the kids where we hang out smoke before they've started growing chest hairs or because they have a proficiency for four letter words.
No, my kids skate for the purest of reasons:
After driving them one too many times to the skateboard park only to watch them take the proverbial bunny hill one too many times, I pulled over a city instructor who happened to be on site. Gleaning a few tips from him on how my kids could gain courage to graduate from simple swells to narly pipes, I got right down to the business of coaching my kids.
Helped along the way a little by a small bribe.
They excelled quickly at the first lesson, staying on their boards through two ramps and steering their way to finish at the wall. Fast learners, mine. Half the kids there for skate camp hadn't even accomplished that in the two hours they'd been there. Imagine me, proud mama, screaming my praise over loud bursts of profanity:
"Mama's so proud of you, baby!"
"You are such a big boy!"
Not my proudest moments.
But hey, learning how to keep your head up through the worst is one of life's vital lessons, even if the worst does come from your mama.
It was getting hot and the kids were growing tired from the exertion. But I thought it too early and too easy to walk away from certain career success just yet. The big ramp beckoned...
"I'll give you 10 bucks if you'll go down that", me pointing my thrown gauntlet at their newest moneymaker.
Their answer? Wide eyes and wider mouths that grew thinner once they clamped their jaws back to their faces.
It took all of two seconds before my second oldest was at the top and two more before she was at the bottom, still on her feet! Turns out my unorthodox parenting merits some applause. By putting my money where my mouth was (I could and did scream all day that I believed in them), I invested in their undetected courage and tripled on the returns they gained in their success.
Turns out that coach/mama and students/children shared in the abundance of wisdom learned that day, theirs to apply to skateboarding and mine to apply in my own life:
1. Courage grows as you practice putting your all into everything. So, incidentally enough, does ability.
2. Don't walk away when you've reached your self-appointed pinnacle. There are still mountains to climb so keep scaling your way to and then through the clouds.
3. When you don't have faith enough for yourself, borrow some from a loved one. Mamas usually always have plenty to spare!
I'd like to think we were all richer from our mornings spent together at the skateboard park. Well, the kids at least...I'm out $20. Could anybody spare me some change?