Last night our school had a "roller skating night" at the local United Skates. My kids enjoy skating and have their own roller blades. And it's fun when you know a lot of the people someplace. So off we went (and no, I didn't skate, before you ask) for a night of skating.
It's fun to watch little kids skate. Some are very timid. Taking tiny little steps while a parent guides them around the floor. Some, not much bigger, skate with wild abandon, wiping out frequently and spectacularly and then getting back up to do it all over again. There are kids who hug the wall and kids who head right for the middle of the rink.
This year, as a fifth grader, Pippi was one of the oldest kids (aside from middle-school siblings who attended). When she was small she would skate timidly and cautiously. Making her way around in the way of the tortoise - slow and steady wins the race (or at least gets you around the rink). Now she's a lot more comfortable on skates, but she still takes no chances. She does what she feels comfortable with - no more.
When Harry started skating he was one of the wild abandon kids (okay, no real surprise there). But he's actually mellowed some. He prefers not to fall now.
I think there is a metaphor for life in all this. It's interesting because Pippi is a kid who prefers to not to leave her comfort zone in most things. A challenge? No thanks (unless it involves acting - then it's a different story). And Harry attacks each new challenge with gusto - determined to master anything put in his way.
I wonder how that pans out for the other kids that were on the rink. Do the kids hugging the wall play it safe in the rest of their life? Do the kids who don't mind wiping out over and over again accept challenges and give them their all?
And what does it say about me - who won't put on skates - because when I was in middle school I wasn't crazy about roller skating and can't convince myself it would be any better now? Maybe it's best not to contemplate these things too deeply.