At what point do you decide that your child has to participate in an event or allow them to quit? I’ve often wondered this over the years in relation to various kids’ activities, but especially when I think about my childhood.
Every winter from the ages of 9 to 12, I was enlisted in the annual Parks and Rec skating derby. I detested this event, but never felt I had the option to say “No I don’t want to participate”. My girlfriend and our sisters would take us to Tahoe park to practice on the outdoor ice rink. It would be freezing and I sucked at it. My ankles were not very strong and I didn’t have great balance. My girlfriend’s sister would practice and practice with her, but I don’t remember Lisa helping me with my technique very much.
When it was time for the derby, there were always three participants in my age category. My girlfriend, me and a girl that was practicing to be a speed skater. The speed skater would always place 1st, my girlfriend would place 2nd and I received a participants award. Every. Single. Year.
I finally got up the nerve to tell mom that I absolutely hated this ritual and I didn’t want to participate. I was waiting for a guilt trip or some type of explosion, but I was pleasantly surprised and she simply said “Ok – are you sure?” I was most definitely sure and I was ecstatic!
I don’t believe I’ve been ice skating since those winters and I’m not too sad about it. There are much more enjoyable things to do during the cold winter months that don’t involve bruised knees and butts and frozen extremities. I’ll take a good book, a crackling fire, and some hot apple cider instead!