Pretending to Be Courageous for My Son

Yesterday Zach and I went ice-skating for the first time together. I haven’t skated in decades, and I remember being spectacularly bad at it. I had absolutely no body awareness until I was in my early ‘20s and started doing aikido. I’m pretty sure my center of gravity was somewhere near my throat.

A boy ice-skating

Zach didn’t want to try ice-skating. He’s invited to a birthday party in a few weeks though. Before yesterday he was planning on just sitting on the sidelines at the party. I told him it was fine if he wanted to do that, but I might need to help his sister Kaylee at the party so I wanted to practice beforehand.

We went with two other families, and when Zach found out the other kids were going to skate, he said he’d like to try. He told me in the car, “I’m scared,” and I told him, “I am too. But we’ll be okay.”

I fully expected that he and I would be hanging on to the wall the entire time, or would give up within 20 minutes. Surprisingly, we both really enjoyed it and were able to skate without holding on to anything by the end. We skated for two hours, stopping only briefly to drink some hot chocolate.

The friends we were with gave us some pointers (keep your butt tucked under, bend your knees slightly, and pick your feet up and march a bit). One of them had her baby in a stroller, and we were able to push the stroller on the ice, which gave us something to hold on to for balance.

I was really proud of Zach and me not letting our fears get in the way of trying something new. It’s very possible we might not have liked it, but I always tell him, “You can’t know you don’t like something if you never try it.” He loves Mythbusters, so I tell him to think of it as an experiment.

Before I had kids, I used to watch “Little People, Big World” on TLC. It was a reality show that followed a family where the parents and one of the children have dwarfism, and three of the children are of average height. The father was the most limited in his physicality, but he went ziplining on one of their vacations. He pushed himself to be courageous, as a model for his kids.

I can be quite a coward at times. I’m afraid to volunteer to lead anything at my son’s school. I’m terrified of heights. I’m scared of ghosts and serial killers even though I’ve never met any.

I’m afraid I’m going to fail at anything I attempt, but especially for my kids, I’m at least trying some new things. This is my last post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge I’ve been doing this month. Thirty-one blogs posts published in 31 days. Previously, I’d only published once or twice per week.

Tomorrow I’m starting guitar lessons. Next week, Zach and I will go ice-skating again.

I still want to know what I’m capable of. I’m enjoying finding out, and I’m proud that my kids are willing to stretch their comfort zones and try new things too.

How do you encourage your kids to try new things or not to let fear stop them?

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