THE SKATEBOARD PRODIGAL SON * Listen to your kids * A Lesson in Parenting

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By Bernie V. Lopez,
Blogger / retired Inquirer columnist / healing ministry
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parents must be humble enough
to admit that their children
maybe wiser than them
because true wisdom
is in the heart, not in the mind
and millennial kids have plenty of heart
Morning breakfast table.


KEVIN. Guys. I’m going to California to join the skateboard tilt.
DAD. What? You’re giving up school?
KEVIN. Not really. It’s just for the summer.
DAD. No way. You gain nothing from skateboards. It’s a dead end.
MOM. Wait, Dad. Let’s hear him out.
DAD. There is nothing to hear. Case closed.
MOM. I want to hear. Speak up, young man.


DAD. As I said, there’s no career or money in it. I won’t permit you to waste your life.
KEVIN. Waste my life? Dad, I want to build my life.
DAD. Not this way. No. That’s final.
MOM. That’s something – build your life? How?
DAD. It will destroy your life.
MOM. Wait, wait. Hear him out. Build your life?
KEVIN. Yes. I don’t know how to explain it.
DAD. End of discussion. Case closed.


Kevin storms out to his room, bangs the door.


MOM. We must listen. We can’t just impose ourselves on him. He is a grown man.
DAD. He’s a boy, an infantile child.
MOM. He said ‘build your life’. Magic words. It means gain self-confidence. Be your own man.
DAD. He can gain self-confidence in the campus. Case closed.


Next day, Kevin stole money from Dad’s wallet and left for California. Fuming, Dad said he no long had a son. Mom was silent, not wanting to start a quarrel. She turned around to hide a smile, because she knew Kevin could take care of himself. Skateboards could make or break him – that’s the risk, she thought.


In a week, Kevin’s money had been spent. Lisa, a wealthy skateboard champ, who had ran away from home, saw Kevin’s unique style and was so impressed, she took him into her pad. In a week, she was pregnant, resigned to not joining the skateboard tilt, but happy to have a skateboard baby, which was for her, more important than the ramp.


Kevin had a hard time learning the ropes. He crashed into a tree and broke an arm. This encouraged him all the more. In a week, he was back. He was climbing rooftops and diving down pavements. He mastered the triple twirl with ease. He injured his knee, his skull saved by his dented helmet. Lisa was happy to foot the bills because she knew Kevin had a champion’s blood in his veins. His determination was amazing. True enough, Kevin became the California champ, destined to go for the national conference.


TV ANCHOR. So Kevin, it looks like your headed for stardom.
KEVIN. Mmmmm, not yet. I still have a lot to learn. Getting there though.
TV ANCHOR. Tell me, Kevin, what makes you tick. You had half a dozen injuries shown all over the papers. You have been labeled the Skateboard Paraplegic. But you keep going.
KEVIN. Two ingredients, sir. First is love. My girl Lisa and my mom and dad. Love fuels my spirit. Getting a baby made me more resolute. Love is my source of energy. Second is self-confidence, the most important virtue for a skateboard guy. For the first time in my life, I believed in myself. Before that, I was a shy quiet nobody. I hated myself. Now, I love myself.


When he got his trophy, he raised it to the sky and screamed, “Hey, Dad. This is for you.”


Mom and Dad saw the whole thing on TV. Mom was in tears and Dad was still angry because Kevin defied his authority. But the trophy softened his anger.


DAD. You’re right, Mom, skateboards build lives.
MOM. It is very dangerous to mix arrogance and ignorance, Dad. We almost lost a son.
DAD. Yes, I know. But now, humility has replaced my arrogance, and wisdom my ignorance.
MOM. Humility and wisdom? Magical mix.


When Kevin came home, he was scared his Dad had not forgiven him. But when Dad held his arms up, everything melted into an embrace.


KEVIN. Mom, dad, meet Lisa, ex-skateboard champ, and Lawrence, future skateboard champ.


Mom and Dad screamed when they saw Kevin’s wife and baby.


DAD. What’s this?
KEVIN. The $300 I stole from you.
DAD. Think nothing of it, Kevin. Keep it. God bless you.
KEVIN. No, I insist. (He forces it into Dad’s shirt pocket.)
MOM. (Grabbing the money.) Give me that. Steak and salad and red wine, anyone? My prodigal son has returned. Let’s feast and thank the Lord.
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