Most of the time, as parents, we encourage our children to do things we already know how to do. We help them with homework we did ourselves many years ago. If we are baseball fans, we sign them up for a team and smile when they first put on their uniform. If we play the piano, we help them read the notes as they learn an instrument. If we are multilingual, they learn a second language at home. If we like to read, they read along with us.
Our kids also discover their own unique talents as they grow up.
Rarely, then, do we have the opportunity to learn something entirely new together. And it is a surprisingly amazing experience.
On a recent trip to the beach, my three boys and I all went snorkeling for the first time. So we got accustomed to breathing through the apparatus at the same time. We struggled a little with the flippers together. We simultaneously tried to empty our breathing tubes. We each wondered about what we might see and whether we would be brave enough to stay in the water with a shark or a stingray.
We got to test ourselves together.
We did not all learn at the same pace. We did not all last as long in the water. The five year old mastered it the fastest, but tired of the waves earlier than the rest of us. The ten year old proved to be a relentless underwater explorer. And mom did not get to see the octopus!
But we had a great time, which was cool to be both witness to and a part of.
So I thought I would put together a list of ways in which Denver parents and their children might learn something together this summer:
• Sign up for a novice knitting class at the Lamb Shoppe (http://www.thelambshoppe.com/)
• Learn to kayak together with avid4adventure, which runs half-day family programs (http://www.avid4.com/family-camps/denverfamilyadventures-html/)
• Discover your family’s artistic genes with some of the amazing family programs at the Denver Art Museum (http://www.denverartmuseum.org/see-do-dam/kids-families#studio)
• Build a website together
• Attend a free DIY workshop for families at your local Home Depot on the first Saturday of every month to learn building and craft skills
• Sign up for a family golf lesson
• Learn to fly fish together by participating in Angling University’s Kids & Parents courses (http://www.anglinguniversity.com)
• Conquer your fear of heights together by zip lining at the Colorado Adventure Center (http://www.zippingcolorado.com)
• Try a simulated skydive with the entire family at SkyVenture Colorado (http://www.skyventurecolorado.com)
There is an intense vulnerability that most people experience when they try something new. For parents, diving out of our comfort zone with our kids watching can be especially intimidating. “If they see that I am afraid to jump, will they be scared too?” “If they see how un-crafty I am, will think I am not as good a mom?” “How will I feel if they are better at it than me?”
From recent experience, it actually feels great. Not only was learning something new more fun because I absorbed their child-like enthusiasm, but I was also proud that they were venturing out of their comfort zones and pushing me to join them on an adventure.