Growth Spurts: All-Skate
My husband and I recently took our three children, plus some extra girls, to the roller skating rink. We had been skating once or twice before, but it had been a while since our last venture. Callie, my 12-year-old, took to skating pretty easily and was off making laps with her friends. Katie, my 8-year-old, was somewhat steady but still wanted to hold Mom’s or Dad’s hand for some added assurance. My son Caleb, 10 years old, was the least confident of my young skaters. He was also the least motivated to even try. He just didn’t have a burning desire to get from place to place via four wheels attached to each foot.
Skating didn’t look like fun to him; it looked likea chore. I’m afraid he’s like his mother in some ways. If an activity doesn’t come rather easily and quickly to me, I tend to assume I can never do it, and I just give up. But on this occasion, I became determined to help him (without forcing him) to give it a really good shot. Caleb had already attempted to go around the rink a time or two with my husband Kevin, and they had both gotten pretty frustrated. At this point, I offered to switch places with Kevin, so I sat out with Caleb for several minutes. I tried to encourage him, but he wasn’t really receptive. I tried to convince him that he could do it and would probably really enjoy it once he got the hang of it, but he didn’t want to be convinced.
I honestly don’t remember how I eventually got him back out on that wood floor, but I did. I promised to hold his hand (This Mama certainly didn’t mind!), go slowly, and help him get the feel of balancing on skates. So basically, he kept his feet still and tried to keep steady while I gently pulled him along. We got about halfway around the rink when he got his feet tangled and tripped, then proceeded to sweep my feet from under me, and I fell hard on my wrists.
Again we went to the sidelines to recover. We talked about how frustrating falling is, but as we talked, we watched person after person fall on that rink. It helped to know that we were not alone! With this, we gathered ourselves and (carefully) re-entered the rink.
For the next hour, my son and I went round and round that rink together, hand in hand, with me occasionally squealing out “You got it! You got it! You got it!” when he started to lose his balance. We laughed, and he did, in fact, regain his balance each time. He was still mainly just getting used to the feel of being on skates, but with each lap, I sensed his confidence strengthening. And he was [Wait for it…] starting to enjoy it! In fact, when we took a break, he would be the one to say, “Okay, let’s go!” It was so great.
Is my son now an expert roller skater? Not at all. But he made some great strides that night. He (and we, his parents) overcame a lot of frustration, gathered up some determination, and tried not to think about all the people skating around him. It became the two of us focused on a mission, and together we accomplished it.
It was a good learning experience for us. Though he and I both might have been content to give up on the seemingly impossible task, we instead broke it down into more manageable pieces; lowered our expectations; and tried to laugh at ourselves. Instead of forcing him to learn a new skill, I tried to let him learn in his own way and time. It ended up being less pressure–and more enjoyment–for both of us.
Carrie Bevell Partridge absolutely loves her son Caleb and would go roller skating with him any time!