By Cathy Canton

Original Article

My kid is a skater. He has been for the last ten years. He has spent hours at skateboard parks, practicing tricks, trying to finally land the one that has eluded him. I know my kid will never be a pro skateboarder, but still, life is all about lessons, and I think you might be surprised at the things my kid learned at the skateboard park.

Sense of Community: Although they may look a bit ragamuffin skaters have a distinct code of conduct and sense of community. I have been to at least 23 skateboard parks across North America, and at each you see it, that sense of community: the subtle tapping of the skateboards by others when someone finally lands that difficult trick or someone offering up a board to a competitor whose board has broken.

Manners: The rules aren’t posted but everyone knows them: you wait your turn to go; you apologize if you bump into someone or cut them off by accident.

Tenacity: Skateboard tricks only look easy. It takes hours and hours of practice, and thick skin (literally) to learn most tricks. I have never seen my son work so hard as when he is trying to learn a new skateboard trick. First comes the watching videos over and over again in slow motion, step by step to see how the trick is done. Then this information is translated into action, and he spends hours doing it over and over again until he finally lands it. More times than not it involves falling, and bruising and skin removal, yet hour after hour he continues.

Physical Exercise: Skateboarding burns between 295-465 calories an hour. Based on this calculation my son will weigh 0 pounds soon.

Calories Burned Skateboarding – Calories

Fashion Statements: Skateboarding has given my son an opportunity to express himself through fashion in his own “I think I am being different, but am so not being different” way. He seems to have learned in the last year or so to pull his pants up, which I consider a great accomplishment.

Math and Science: My son has learned everything from descending and ascending parabolic equations used in ramp design and calculations, the impact diameter and width of wheels have on speed, to how deflection rates impact board performance.

Real World Physics

Quoted from my son’s Grade 8 Science Fair Project comparing deflection in 3 skateboards from different price points:

“Skate boards are much like springs, they will give to a certain point and after that point they no longer act like springs or go back to their original shape – they break or don’t work. Skateboards also give or deflect to a certain point and after that point they break.” FYI: Same holds true for kids bones. He learned that at the skateboard park as well.

Research: To learn some of the more advance tricks, many kids search the internet, and You Tube to find tutorials and videos on how to do the tricks. This is exactly the same way one would sift through the thousands of sites that come up when doing research for school projects. Learning how to properly search and zero in on the best resources is an invaluable skill in high school and university.

Personally I think it is pretty impressive all the things the sponge-like brains of our kids absorb every day, and from places we least expect it. So skate on kid, and never stop learning.

Have you ever been surprised by where and how your child has learned life lessons?