So, after dithering for a mere five years or so (and blogging about it, below), I finally got my boys — 10 and 12 — a skateboard.
I didn’t dither out of laziness. Well, not just laziness. I really avoided it out of fear. The idea of a kid upside down in the air, no matter what the centrifugal force at work, sounded pretty bad. (And those posters of Tony Hawk!)
But anyway – the whole point of this site is that if we don’t start examining our fears and whether they really make any sense, we’ll just keep cutting “dangerous” activities out of our kids’ lives without even thinking twice.
It’s like being on a diet that restricts any foods you have ever heard may be harmful, no matter what the source — actual scientist, quack, morning news show — or how it applies to you. So you cut out all salt, all fat, all carbs, all dairy, all eggs, all peanuts, all wheat, all meat, all tap water (in case it’s carcinogenic), all bottled water (in case it’s carcinogenic), coffee (because it’s so wonderful, something must be wrong with it) and pretty soon you are eating unsalted popcorn three times a day with nothing to wash it down with.
Meanwhile, think of how we’ve restricted our kids: they’re not allowed to walk to school (cars!), bike to a friend’s house (perverts on the way), play in the park (those perverts again), the woods (scary), the creek (drowning) the lawn (ticks), the tree (gravity) or dirt (dirt). All they are left with is a selection of supervised, sanitized, often pricey activities that allow zero room for creativity. And at the end – I know because I’ve been there – they get a trophy.
So I got my boys the skateboard which, it turns out, if you’re not Tony Hawk, really does not go very fast and has yet to make any kind of airborne loop. The kids love it, they wear their helmets and it gets them out of the house a little.
Then they come back in and whine that they’re bored.
Rome was not built in a day.