A few months ago, I posted “Gift This,” my take on nurture vs. nature and why we label some kids ‘gifted.’
We put our two-year old on a snowboard and sent him down the bunny hill at Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota this spring. Oh boy oh boy… can you say PROUD PARENTS?!
The first thing my mom said was “he’s the next Shaun White!”
White is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in snowboarding who by age 9 was being mentored by Tony Hawk.
When White first started snowboarding, his career put a significant financial burden on his family, costing his parents $20,000 a year, according to USA Today. In the infancy of his career, the family (Shaun, Roger, Cathy and his siblings, Jesse and Kari) would drive up to Mammoth every weekend and sleep in their 1964 Econoline van (a.k.a. “Big Mo”), cooking meals on a stove in the back. As Shaun got older, the family began staying at a motel, but the lifestyle still required significant sacrifice. Cathy spent her weeks shuttling back and forth between bringing Shaun to Mammoth and waiting tables in San Diego, and by 2002, her 1998 Honda had reportedly accumulated 180,000 miles.
There was more than a little bit of nurture involved in this success story. Yes the sacrifice paid off. White could blow his nose with dollar bills if he wanted to and I’ve heard he takes care of his family in grand style.
However, this family will make sure our little peanut will hit a mountain at least once a year and give him all the encouragement and praise proud parents can give. Seems to me he’s pretty darn gifted, and so are we.