Manners at the skatepark


It was a warm sunny day, just right for a trip to the skatepark. So far the grandkids have loved watching the skaters at Southbank in London, but have had few opportunities to try out skateparks for themselves.

There are kids younger than them there. A three year old insists in shouting “excuse me”, every time, from the top of the ramp to make sure the coast is clear for his run down the gentle slope. They set off to explore the skatepark and its obstacles.

Soon one of them come back. “They are swearing,” he tells me, “make them stop.” I explain that it is a public park and that anyone can use it – and swear. They just have to put up with it. I say that if their friends were playing with them at home, I would ask them to use more appropriate language.

Granddaughter wants to whisper something. “See that boy over there?” She points to one of the cool teenagers. “I saw his pants!” She pauses. “They were blue and white stripes!” She tells me with gusto.

Life with the skaters is definitely different.

On the way back to the car, we reflect on our experiences. “If you don’t swear,” I say, “you will get known for not swearing and people around you won’t swear. Remembering my offers of first aid on another occasion, I continue, “if you are kind to other people, they will appreciate your kindness”. And remind them of the lady in the park who provides chalks for the kids to draw with and the mother who lets them use her son’s bike and football. Grandson agrees. He helped people when they came off their bikes. We’ve come to a place of understanding.

We celebrate the end of a perfect afternoon with ice creams all round.

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