Caian (pronounced KI-yen), age 2, Akeira (pronounced Uh-keer-uh), age 10 and Kyndal (pronounced Ken-duhl), age 9 taught me a lesson in sportsmanship recently by just being kids. Kyndal received a scooter as a gift last year and lets her bestie, Akeira, ride from time to time.
In this instance, Caian wanted a ride when he saw Akeira glide by. The scooter isn’t age appropriate for Caian giving Akeira and Kyndal an easy out. Caian’s too little to ride the scooter safely on his own. They could have told his parents and gone back to taking turns riding or whatever they were going to do.
Instead, Akeira hopped off and let Caian on. Here’s the part where the adult made the experience more fun and safe for kids. Caian doesn’t know how to ride a scooter and trying to teach him is a waste of time. He’s two. All he wants to do is ride.
I told Akeira to let him stand on the scooter and she should just pull him along. No matter what he does, I told her to control the scooter. Even if he looks like he could control the machine, don’t allow him to. Caian held onto the handlebars and giggled as he rode for about 30 minutes – an eternity for a toddler.
Keep in mind, the scooter belongs to Kyndal. At no time did she complain about wanting her stuff back. Akeira never complained about giving up her riding time to make Caian happy. Other than my safety tip, the adults continued their conversations without a crying or hurt kid interrupting.
This situation could have gone off the rails at anytime. What if Kyndal wanted her scooter back? What if Akeira told Caian to run along after five minutes instead of letting him ride until he got tired?
All of the kids’ parents were nearby. None of them had to get involved at anytime, though. Two kids who can’t really do anything without permission took it upon themselves to make a younger kid happy. If a nine-year-old and a 10-year-old can figure this stuff out, why can’t the rest of us?
Full disclosure: I’ve known Caian, Akeira, and Kyndal their whole lives. They’re great kids from great families. I wrote this to show treating people right isn’t that hard. We just have to be willing.
P.S. Kyndal saved my life once, but that’s another story for another time.
Don’t forget to show your commitment to sportsmanship. Take the pledge and join the club at goodsportclub.org.