The end of the school year is here, and though we don’t tend to reward our kids with gifts for the occasion, we have at times brought home something a child has been hankering for in particular, only because we don’t often spoil them with things.
Case in point: a skateboard for Oliver.
He wanted one for Christmas, but it’s hard to give such a gift when there’s sure to be snow on the ground for the next five months (which indeed there was) so we thought it better to just say, Here, have this out of the blue one day. The trouble was the vast array of colours of decks and wheels from which to choose from… so we made a trip to Toys R Us so he could select his own.
He brought down off the shelf every one that struck his fancy, and then began his process of elimination – he didn’t like that shade of green… another friend had this board already, and yet another was too plain… he sorted and put back all the ones he deemed unfit, and I tell you, this process took
days hours a long-ass time. Finally I turned to him.
Me: How’s it going, Boo?
He: *flatly* Fine.
Me: What’s the trouble?
He: I like these ones the best.
He fans his hands at the three that remain on the floor – one is yellow, and the other two are pink.
He: Well, I don’t really want this one *indicates yellow* because Oscar already has it.
Me: Okay, so which one do you prefer then?
He: *looks miserable* I like the pink. Both of them.
He: I just… I don’t want anyone to bug me because I have a pink one.
Me: Oliver, choose the one you want. Pink isn’t for just girls – you know that – it’s just a colour like all the rest. *rubs his head* Don’t worry about it.
He: You think?
Me: I like the pink, too.
He: *smiles shyly*
Me: *cocks eyebrow* It’s kinda badass.
He: Yeah. I know.
Me: So? Get it. No one’s going to bother you about it. *looks in his eyes* Really! You have cool friends, and they’re gonna LOVE it!
Me: And if they don’t? *shrugs* It’s okay, because it’s yours, and they don’t have to ride it – they can ride their own. Right? Don’t worry about pleasing others – do what makes you feel happy inside.
Me: Don’t worry.
He: *nods and smiles* Okay, it’s good.
This is just a nine-year-old trying to make a colour choice about a pennyboard, but it is challenging to make a decision that feels unpopular – that never really changes, even as we get older – but I want him to learn to be true to his own wants and desires. Do what makes you happy, and make no apologies about it. It won’t be the last time he’ll need to bolster his own choice, worrying about what others think. (I still struggle.)
And the pink board? Everyone wants to dig a ride on it… heh.