Monday, August 16, 2010

Maybe It's Time to DIY

Money doesn't grow on trees, kids.

There's an article in my local paper today in which a teenager and his dad lament the closure of a skateboard park in a nearby town. They imply unfair treatment of skateboarders by local police and whine that people don't accept the skaters because they look/dress/act different. And because the skateboard park was closed (due to unsafe conditions) in December, this teen seems to believe that the police shouldn't bother skaters who want to take their tricks to Main Street, which is crowded with shops, pedestrians, and car traffic.

It's nice to have a park where you can practice your skating and enjoy your friends' company. But it's not your right to have that park--and if the park is no longer available to you, it's not your right to break the law and skate in the middle of a crowded downtown area.

Money's tight. It's time that towns (and school districts, states, and the nation) learn to live within their means. It's time that the people entrusted with public funds be more careful about how they choose to spend those funds. And it's time that we stop expecting our towns (and school districts, states, and nation) to provide facilities for us to practice every single niche sport that exists.

The teenager in the article I read today is 17. He's old enough to respectfully approach the township officials and find out what needs to be done before his favorite park can reopen. He's old enough to organize a fund-raiser or get his friends together to work on cleanup or construction, and even to make a commitment to the kind of ongoing maintenance a skate park requires.

Instead of whining about the lack of a place to play, and taking his games to Main Street, this young man could be channeling his energy into finding solutions to the problem. If that happened, chances are good that people wouldn't continue to misjudge him and his fellow skaters, but rather admire their initiative and civic spirit.

I'll end with a quote from the movie Robots: "See a need, fill a need."


Jeanne said...

Unfortunately, what the teen needs is a parent or concerned adult who can show him how to channel that energy into solving a problem. Our society seems to encourage whining and "it's not fair!" behavior without mature and constructive action.

Aimee said...

I so totally AGREE! And I agree with Jeanne too - sometimes the parents are bigger whiners than the kids. It's something I need to remind myself all the time -- I have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Everything else is gravy.

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