Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Little Kids, Big Goals and Stupid Adults

The other Skating Blogs I read have a lot to say about Goals. How to set them, how to go for them, what to do when you achieve them, and so on. Apparently this is a big topic, as Skaters need clear and stated Goals. I can get that. I think that's important.

However, all that is written by, for and about the Teenage Girl set. This doesn't help me, the mother of a School Age Boy. I thought about this forever. How do I help a little kid set goals? What is a good goal for a beginning skater? How can I teach the value of practice, effort? What distinguishes a Reward from a Bribe? How can I instill positive, forward thinking towards largely non-tangible ends? How can I make "Best Effort" a goal and not "Winning"? What is going to make all these bruises, early mornings, cold feet and snarky kids worth it?

My puzzler just about broke, I had a massive headache, and then I realized; Stitch already set a goal, and he did it himself. He set a goal before he even started Pre-Alpha. All the ISI Level Patches.

These little gems are perfect, tangible, highly visible signs of progress easily understood by a young mind. Because I got frustrated with the needlessly stupid process of actually getting the damn Patch, I instead focused on Competition. Well, Stitch likes competing, but as that's not his goal, Stitch has been getting lost.

Well, not anymore. Last night I informed him of the "Special Test" on Saturday to get his Pre and Alpha Patch, and please let me know where on his jacket he wanted them. He got excited. I said that USFS also offers patches, so he decided that USFS should go on the front, and ISI on the back. I'll talk to Coach about the Basic Skills patches when I see her next. (And may god help Mysteria if she doesn't deliver.)

So, Bad Skate Mom. No cookie for me today. I was needlessly muddying the issue with competitions, practice ice, lessons, ice show and other stuff that just serves the Goal. I was confusing the finger with the moon again.

Leave it to a bunch of adults to overcomplicate shit.


  1. I'm 48. I skate a lot. I skated as a kid earning all of my USFSA patches which I still have 30 years later. I'm proud of those badges. After a long hiatus I took up skating again a few years ago and started earning my adult USFSA patches. I passed bronze MIF and prebronze free. I'm all about goal setting. It is important. It can be applied to someone your childs age but it isn't necessary. While you are in group lessons and doing the prefree stuff your goals are pretty much laid out by the program. The patches are a great reward and he will be proud of them.

    The goal stuff you've been reading is more for the freestylers since there is more freedom and you have to choose a path through the system. This is where the goal setting becomes more crucial. You have to decide which path you want and how to get there. So I guess I'm saying don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Learn about the goal setting stuff now but don't worry about applying it until your kid hits freestyle and above all let your kid pick the goals.

  2. I think he just needs a general target, something he can point to. And I love the patches because it forces a slowdown and mastery. When he's in freestyle, the older he gets, the more he'll have the reins. Keep up the good work, you're braver than me!