“Daddy that’s a cool skateboard. Can we try it?” questioned my four-year old son as we walked down the toy aisle. I pulled down a blue skateboard from the third shelf and held his hands while he rolled back and forth testing out the smooth shiny warehouse floors. I checked the specs on the tag and I was impressed by the wheel bearing quality (abec 5’s) so we put it in the cart and headed for the checkout. That same day we went down to the skate park to start practicing.
With a determined tone I insisted, “Lean hard, push down with your toes and turn right, now push with your heels and turn left.” It wasn’t working. The skateboard continued straight ahead. Disappointed we stopped rolling and began observing the other skateboarders as they swerved in and out.
I said, “Ok let me try your skateboard and see if I can show you how to do it.” I stepped on the board, pushed off three times and leaned in hard to make a right turn, but instead of turning gracefully the skateboard went straight ahead and I went stumbling off to the side in surprise. I snatched up the board and sauntered back to my boy nodding and saying, “It wasn’t your fault. It’s because the skateboard trucks are too stiff and they won’t turn for me either.”
So we went home and parked the skateboard outside the front door. Then today, one month later, we decided to try something new with that stiff blue skateboard. We took the trucks off my old skateboard and switched them with the little blue skateboard. We thought, if the trucks are the problem then let’s put some good trucks on and see what happens.
After half an hour of loosening and tightening screws we were ready. My old skateboard trucks were fastened to his little blue board. I grasped his hands, he stepped onto the board, and with delight in his eyes we rolled down the driveway and leaned in for the first turn. But just as before the skateboard continued straight ahead. Nothing had changed. With a disappointed look I said, “Oh well I guess we need to learn more about how skateboards turn. We’ll figure it out a different day.”
Even though it didn’t work we had a great time learning to loosen, tighten, and adjust bolts while getting more and more excited about our new idea. So why not think outside the box even if the outcome is disappointing?