Teaching my daughter that ‘Adventure Boo-Boos’ are part of life
I come from a family of sugars. Well-intentioned, of course, but with an instinctive urge to ask, “Is that safe?” before proceeding. Perhaps Darwin prefers this trait in humans, and long ago the majority of my ancestors who looked before the jump weren’t that good.
But when we had our daughter, I wanted to find a new intermediate point between the search for absolute safety and Wile E. Coyote. Some educational leaders suggest asking, “Are you okay?” When a child falls, they actually encourage them to feel * not * okay because it raises or amplifies the alarm that they will be comfortably calming when they show distress. [Lest people think that I stared silently at my toddler when she tripped on the sidewalk, I substituted “you are ok!” as an assurance.] And so Adventure Boo-Boos were born.
We don’t remember when Adventure Boo-Boos officially debuted as a description, but it likely coincided with the debut of my daughter’s enthusiasm for climbing very high on playground equipment or trees. Soon scratches, bumps, skinned knees and the like were considered “Adventure Boo-Boos” – not to be feared to celebrate. Make good decisions and if you still fall, the wear and tear was some form of epaulette that recognized your life experience.
Our family was in Adventure Boo-Boos for a few months while we were strolling down Valencia Street on a weekend afternoon. As we passed a streetwear store, our kid stopped and noticed the TV playing a loop of skateboarding videos. She walked in and stood on the couch, obviously drawn to the stunts. I sat down next to her and began to explain what she was seeing.
It was the epic X Games in 1999 (coincidentally in San Francisco) and Tony Hawk running the sport’s first 900. The 900 refers to a 900 degree spin in the air, 2 1/2 revolutions. As shown in the following clip, Tony tried the trick a few times during the performance, all unsuccessful, until he finally nailed him down.
Each mistake resulted in some degree of bumps, bruises, or falls. After a few of these my daughter pointed to him and said, “Adventure Boo-Boos?” Yeah, Adventure Boo-Boos for sure, I told her and then we saw him end in a win. She clapped. I smiled.
Parents live for these organically teachable moments, so I saw it as a karmic sign when my friend the next day David tweeted about fundraisers for the Tony Hawk Foundation. After a quick DM exchange and a small donation to charity, a signed skate deck was on the way to my house. We hung it in our breakfast nook where it stays today.