I think many of us in the western world would have to answer yes to this question.
I often wonder if I make good parenting decisions. I really have no idea. It’s a tough job and with so much going on everyday, it’s hard to focus the attention needed to be a super dad, or even an average dad. Do we just spoil our kids instead of concentrating on more important values?
Being in the bike biz, I see many parents who wouldn’t hesitate to spend money on their kid’s bikes – $1,000, $2,000, or maybe $5,000 on a bike is a worthy expense if it gets their kid out doing what they love and living a healthy lifestyle.
Do these kids NEED an expensive bike? No, but if it enhances their life, why not? A kid who enjoys sport, and competition, and play, is a kid who is not only having some fun, but also a kid learning to focus, learning how to adapt, and learning how to overcome failure. All pretty good life skills.
When I was 10, my parents bought me a moto-x bike and got me into racing. My parents were not wealthy and I know this was a big sacrifice for them. When I look back at those years, I remember not only the racing, but the life experience it gave me, and more importantly, all the time my dad and I spent together racing, practicing, and road tripping. Without all that, I would be a different person now, and not for the better.
Sure, school was great for math and reading, but most of my life skills came from living life doing the things I loved. Moto-x, lacrosse, mountain biking, partying, and travelling. None of this stuff was cheap and none of it necessary to survive, but my parents made it available to me throughout my youth (except the partying, that came in my 20’s on my own dime).
When my daughter was six, she told me she didn’t want to ride mountain bikes anymore because the trails were too bumpy. The next day I ordered her a full suspension bike.
Part of me wondered if this was for her or for me, but she loves her bike now and we get out on great family rides. Sure it seems ridiculous to have a $2,000 bike for a six-year-old, but we’re a couple of years in now and it is still bringing huge value to us as a family, so I think it’s for all of us.
When I see my kids playing, spending countless hours doing flips on their trampoline, blasting around at gymnastics, or riding their over-the-top mountain bikes around the pump track, I realize that yes, they’re spoiled. But they’re fit, healthy, and not sitting in front of a screen. I love the time it allows us to spend together, and I really hope it helps mould a couple of solid grown-ups down the line … spoiled or not.
I’ll tell you in 20 years how it turns out.
I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…