Online DVD Rentals
Online DVD Rentals

September 28, 2011

that socialization thing

The boy loves bikes. Luke constantly rides at home, rides with his brothers and cousins, his dad and uncle Tim. He tucks into bead with miniature flix tricks bikes.

Luke recognizes the uniform. He knows that skinny jeans and skate shoes are functional and not a statement of anti-athletes, as his dad once suspected. He studies bmx videos, imagines that every gangly teenager drooped over a bike spends his days flying around the globe defying physical laws of the universe with pedals and wheels. 

Luke has rode skate parks on a few occasions. The unsocialized, home educated boy has managed to find his way among what has the potential to be a pretty rough crowd. He quickly learned why and how to respect the space of both highly skilled and highly unskilled riders. He hasn't been conditioned to feel intimidated and self-conscious around older peers. Compliments roll freely off his tongue. The majority of them have been kind, and any mopey awkward attitudes smooth out when Luke asks them about their skills.

Surely the bmx community offers both positive and negative influences to a starstruck 7-year old. I had some concern about him idolizing these guys and getting caught up in the cultural riff-raff. Until last week.

Luke, his brothers, and I pedaled down a nearly empty boardwalk to meet up with Tim in the September dusk. "Bmxers!", he exclaimed, spotting several young men that appeared to be riding the skate park in Ocean City NJ. We meandered through the gate and past them, Luke with a twinkle in his eye, noting their style and tricked out bikes. We proceeded to ride, our amateur moves on the various ramps and jumps going mostly unnoticed by the bikers.

Ten minutes later Luke paused to catch his breath. "Hey Uncle Tim, did you see those bikers do any awesome tricks? Let's go ask them to do something?"

Leave it to Tim to not mince words.

"Don't think so Luke. I haven't seen them do anything except sit on their bikes, cussing and smoking cigarettes."

Luke sat on his bike stunned, watching the young men proceed to do exactly that. I rode over to him, tempted to cover his ears. Instead I subtly mocked their second-hand smoke, mentioned to Luke how you don't even need a bike or skate park to do that, and shifted his attention to the skill uncle Tim was working on.

"Let's go try some of those with uncle Tim."

Uncle Tim who doesn't act like that; doesn't talk like that, and is generally awesome, right there in front of you.

Luke is going to hear and see a lot of things in this world, much of it outside the presence of his dad. Who, what, and how will he engage? Each ride is an opportunity to show him how we roll. Every adventure out of the front door is a right-of-passage.

I'm thankful for Lukes uncle, cousins, and "big" friends. And for doing stuff...together. Such a worthy excuse for this grown boy to love bikes.

 - - - - -

No comments: