A STORY ABOUT EPIC // BUT I'M SCARED AND EMBARRASSED
Last night this kid threw himself down a very high up bike ramp thing towards mounds of dirt he would ride over, with zero preparation. And I let him! Even better I paid for him to do it! Hundreds of dollars. I can’t make this shit up. The things we do as parents.
He pushed his bike proudly up the steel ramp, decked out in new-to-him gear, fear and adrenalin creeping from his toes up his chest, and neck, firmly stoppered at his eyelids. He lined up at the gate. Feet on the peddles. Dad in the stands. Hearts beating like hummingbirds.
He took off. He flew down that hill and over the first ridge and he hit the second and off flew his bike and tumbling he flung and there was my baby boy lying flat on the dirt. Weeping.
“I’m such a nerd,” he said, teary eyed as we walked off the track.
And just like that, the tall, handsome, muscular 16 year old swoops in.
“WHOAH WHOAH WHOAH!!! Nerd? NO WAY BRO! You took the first dig of the night. That means you were going the hardest. That means you were being brave. And when we’re brave sometimes we eat it! You know what that gets you though? A crisp high five.”
They high five, but my boy isn’t quite sold. He looks up at him, tears in his eyes, and says, “But I’m scared. And embarrassed. ”
I’ve never been more proud.
I think maybe it’s time for Dad to step in but SUPERTEEN keeps saving the day.
“Of course you’re scared! Scared means you’re doing cool things! But look at this…” and he whips off his shirt. “Last year. 2nd race of the season, I’m coming around a corner and bam. I went down hard! Broke my shoulder. Check out this scar!!! And you know what? I got up and I had surgery. And I was scared… but I got back on because I love it! Because we can do scary things!”
And then he said the most important thing of all.
“When you’re ready, come find me and I’ll help you!”
Just like that my kid had his first real life hero.
And just like that I realized that the world is changing. That masculinity is changing. That that kid is going to grow into a good man. He’s well on his way.
I also got myself a refresher on one of the positive aspects of traditional “boy” socialization.
We socialize boys to get back up even if they weren’t perfect. That being brave is admirable. Even if you break your shoulder, that’s no reason to give up.
And that’s something I want to make sure we teach all our kids.