I have read this article before and it still continues to touch me.
My one son was a skateboarder. I was unfamiliar with this sport and was a bit apprehensive the first time I took Quinny to the Kettering skate park, designed by pro-skater Rob Dyrdek, a native of Kettering.
After fifteen minutes, I was just as touched and as comfortable as the mom in this article. Skaters came up to greet “the new kid” and he was soon skating with them, often taking turns to encourage and discuss things. There was always a wrench nearby that someone brought for anyone who needed quick touch-up repairs.
Our second trip to the skate park, I smiled as I watched my son take time to greet others. I have great respect for those teens and non-teens at the skate park.
“Dear teenage boy at the skate park:
You’re probably about 15 years-old, so I don’t expect you to be very mature or for you to want a little girl on your skate ramp for that matter.
What you don’t know is that my daughter has been wanting to skateboard for months. I actually had to convince her that skateboarding wasn’t just for boys.
So when we walked up to the skate park and saw that it was full of teenage boys, she immediately wanted to turn around and go home.
I secretly wanted to go too because I didn’t want to have to put on my mom voice and exchange words with you.
I also didn’t want my daughter to feel like she had to be scared of anyone, or that she wasn’t entitled to that skate park just as much as you were.
So when she said, “Mom it’s full of older boys,” I calmly said, “So what, they don’t own the skate park.”
She proceeded to go down the ramp in spite of you and your friends flying past her and grinding rails beside her.
She only had two or three runs in before you approached her and said “Hey, excuse me…”
I immediately prepared to deliver my “She’s allowed to use this park just as much as you guys” speech when I heard you say, “Your feet are wrong. Can I help you?”
You proceeded to spend almost an hour with my daughter showing her how to balance and steer, and she listened to you – a feat not attained by most adults.
You held her hand and helped her get up when she fell down and I even heard you tell her to stay away from the rails so that she wouldn’t get hurt.
I want you to know that I am proud that you are part of my community, and I want to thank you for being kind to my daughter.
She left the skate park with a sense of pride and with the confidence that she can do anything, because of you.”