So our daughter is learning to ride a skateboard. I bought a long-board type skateboard a few years ago on a family vacation in Kelowna, BC. To be honest, it hasn’t been ridden too much, with all the grown up bullshit like jobs, bills, raising kids, arguments, work, travel, and the kitchen sink (literally).
I was kind of impressed when the daughter asked for me to take her to the skate park earlier this week. I thought ‘this is great, a chance to connect with her on something that I am really excited about!’ My faith in the father-daughter relationship, with all the challenges of her age, and mine was restored.
I used to ride a skateboard a lot as a teenager. It was the late 1980’s and there was a skateboard boom. If you weren’t around for it, let me tell you, skateboarding, and Guns and Roses was pretty much my staple go-to’s for attitude and rebellion. Isn’t it funny how much life changes as we grow older and gain more responsibility and expectations on us increase? Skating in the mall parking lot, being chased by security guards, setting up a slide rail outside the bank, or exploring some drains was all part of my mis-spent youth.
Today, as we took the dogs for a walk and the daughter rode the skateboard, I watched her slip off the skateboard, and do an awkward splits such that her ankle was bent and some skin was scraped off her knee. We told her to get up, that’s all part of the learning-to-ride process. So, with all my apparent wisdom, it got me thinking. What life lessons does a young person get from skateboarding? Of course these are poetic analogies, and when you are a teenager, you wont give a shit anyway, but I thought it would make for a nice blog.
Lessons in life from a 40 something ex-skateboarder. Here’s what you learn:
- Balance. A very important life skill. Much aspired to, often we don’t get it right.
- Risk taking. Yes, as in skateboarding, it is as in life too. If you want to experience joy, fun, adrenalin, and growth, you have to take risks. Hopefully, those risks would be managed, and you avoid doing completely stupid shit, like setting your board up on a hill that enters a busy intersection…..
- There will be scrapes and bruises. Yes, I think in skateboarding, and in life, this shit happens.
- Persistence. If you want to be good at something, you can’t do it once and expect to be awesome, everything takes time to master. Get good at something, and you are free to enjoy it more fully.
- Commitment. When you start at the top of a hill or ramp, there is no half-in. As you push off, you are going to do it, including risk of landing on your arse or losing skin. Same with life really, half commit to anything, and you get half arsed results.
- The joy of doing something for the simple pleasure of doing it. A very important lesson, because if you find a passion, you will have fun in the journey of life.