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Ice skating adventure brings out the personalities

by Traci Schumacher on Thu, 12/13/2012 - 11:41am
Wall-hugger.
Dare devil.
Slippy-slider.

Our family went ice skating this week at the Civic Center's annual Skate Fest. We try to go every year, and little by little the kids are making progress in their skating skills. With three kids, I'm fascinated to see how their personality differences are highlighted by such a “risky” activity.

My 8-year-old daughter is the oldest and has had the most (though not a lot) experience ice skating. She is the careful one, clutching the wall or my hand, and sometimes both. While enjoying herself, her main goal was to not fall. She is a perfectionist. I did manage to get her away from the wall toward the end of our time, but only because I held her hand. She would have been fine if I had let go, but she couldn't see that and wouldn't dare.

My 6-year-old son is the go-getter. His goal was to do it himself. He wanted to be out on the ice in the middle (yeah, that's supposed to be where the really good people skate, I think). After a bit of practice, there was no more wall for him. When I caught up with him about halfway through our skating time, he proudly told me that he had learned how to get up off the ice all by himself when he falls down. I told him that was a great skill to have.

For my 3-year-old, this was his first ice skating experience. I wasn't even sure he would want to do it, but he said he did. He is the most happy-go-lucky of my children, and as a typical youngest child, his goal was simply to have some fun. I held both of his hands as he slid across the ice in front of me. Most of the time he had no care whatsoever about trying to balance or stand upright. His feet slid this way and that way as I pushed him slowly along. He grinned or laughed the entire time. By the end of our session he seemed to be finding some semblance of balance, but that was of no concern to him. Regardless, he had a blast in his own way.

As a parent, I naturally want the best for my kids so they can get the most out of life. But it's interesting because, on the one hand, I can look at them and encourage them to do things differently (ie- take more risk or be more careful), and that may very well help improve their ice skating skills. But on the other hand I also have to see these same characteristics (carefulness, daring, free-spiritedness) as their strengths, and encourage them in a healthy way. Strengths and weaknesses can often be the same thing just applied differently.

So I find that it's all relative to the individual. Although my three children's ice skating attempts looked completely different, they each had a great time and were happy to have done it. I can try to help them improve to enhance their experience, but in the end they were each satisfied in their own way.

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