So, here I am on day two of 31 days of living proactively, and I’m pretty excited about this parenting thing I have to share. It is about cultivating independence, wise thinking, and as a parents allowing the risk that the child may fail. All things that can be hard if you tend to hover or do for your child – which left to my own control-freak nature I have a tendency to do, so I have to be proactive about fighting that tendency.
J came into some money (some through working hard, some through a gift), and decided he wanted to use it to buy two things: 1. a season pass at Bridger Bowl (only $130 for his age group if he purchases before October 12th) and 2. a new snowboard since he out grew the one he’s been using. I guess some people would think the proactive parent would take the kids money, set aside what is needed for the pass, and go to the board store and tell the kid which board he could afford. After all, that is a lot of money to be spending, and an 11-year-old probably doesn’t have a lot of experience in that type of decision making. We certainly wouldn’t want him to waste that much money.
No, that’s not proactive, that is controlling. Because in this situation the child can learn a lot, and if he does make a mistake, no life is on the line. It would be a bummer, but a lesson that would not be forgotten.
Those are indeed some big purchases for an 11-year-old. So, we had him go on-line for the local board shop to see what he could afford. He did that pretty much all on his own. He did the math, and realized there were several boards he could afford and still get the season pass. He was excited to show us photos of the different boards that were in his price range. So he arranged to go into town with his dad the next day to make the purchase.
Now, this is where his dad did some proactive parenting towards the goal of independence – probably more than I would have done.
Andy took J to the shop, and then said “I’ve got some errands to do, I’ll be back to pick you up in a while.” Not sure I would have left. I probably would have hung around and listened. But I’m so thankful that Andy made the decision he did.
J was at the shop all by himself. And he picked out a board, arranged to have his bindings mounted, and selected a few stickers to go on the board. Obviously he had help from the guys who run the shop, so the board is the right size for him – even a little on the big size so it will last longer as he grows. He also selected this particular board because it gave him speed, was still usable on terrain parks, and is wide enough that as his foot grows he won’t outgrow it.
It was a bit higher in his budget than he originally planned, especially because he had underestimated the cost of mounting his bindings on the board. But, he still has sufficient funds to get his pass.
When he got home J told me there was another board that was less expensive, but there was something wrong with the design. He wanted me to guess what the problem was, but being a complete moron about snowboards I couldn’t. What he explained made me so proud.
The graphic on the board that was less expensive was in the dark, skull-type genre, and he said “I told the guy I didn’t think my parents would approve of that.”
He was proactive about what he thought was right and wrong.
That’s my boy!