I went roller skating this weekend. Of course there were a lot of adolescents and children there, but I was surprised by the amount of adults that were there trying to learn to skate. They didn’t care if they looked silly. I saw them in the beginner’s only sanctioned off part of the skating rink falling on their butts, but getting back up and trying again. I also saw them barely able to move forward on their skates. As I saw them I wanted to skate over and say, “It is only your fear that is preventing you from moving forward.” Skating, riding bikes they are so interesting to me in that the learning process has more to do with getting over the fear of falling than it does of actual skill. When I skate, I believe I can move forward and so I do. On the other hand, the kids were shuffle skating. Basically it is freestyle skating where they move to the beat of the music. It was fantastic! Yet, in the past I’ve been scared of moving in new ways on my roller skates from what I know. I realized, hey I can do what they are doing I just need to believe I can and not be scared.
This has been my year of risk taking, of trying new things. I had had a lot of battles with kids. Many of them would come into preschool being fearful of trying new things. I would look at that and just be shocked because as a kid I didn’t fear trying new things. I picked up roller skates and then roller blades. I swam, I rode my bike. No fear. If I fell, I would just get back up and keep trying. No big deal. Yet, these kids were too scared to even try. I call it “hovering syndrome.” I noticed these kids were used to parents hovering over them basically telling them they can’t, at least not without their parents help. Because of this, every year I’ve tried to work on that with the kids. I do it through modeling. They see me try new things I don’t know how to do very well and then they join along eventually. By the end of the year, there is a huge shift in their view of things. They are no longer afraid of failure and think that they “can’t.” Working on this with the kids has made me want to be more daring and more of a risk taker too. I reflected on my own life and noticed how risk taking was so easy as a child, but as I got older it became harder and harder to do. For one, I got taller. Falling would hurt a lot more. But, I think the main thing holding me back was my brain. As we get older, our brains get bigger and assess things differently from the way kids do. But, I want to lead an exciting life of trying new things. Just enjoying all that there is out there. So I am buying myself some new roller skates and I will soon be doing what the kids are doing.
July 10 2016