I love kids’ toys, especially ones that bring back memories. I came across my old yo-yo the other day, and it reminded me of a time in middle school when our youth directors handed out yo-yos to everyone. They told us to we needed to practice yo-ing and bring it back the next week to compete in a competition. The person who had the most tricks would get a special prize. I thought the prize might be money, or something big, so took the yo-yo home and started learning how to yo.
My dad saw me practicing, and he told me a story about when he was a kid he learned how to yo-yo at the bus stop. Back in the early 1950’s, it wasn’t considered creepy to have a stranger talk to kids about yo-yos at places where kids hung out, so Duncan Yo-Yos would send their yo-yo guys out to teach kids how to do tricks so they would buy yo-yos. After a cool demonstration they would carve a cool design like a palm tree into kids’ yo-yos.
My dad was quite the expert. He did around the world, rock the baby, eat spaghetti, and several other things, and he showed me how to do them. “It’s all in the force that you throw the yo-yo. Make sure you put some spin on it,” he would say. All week when I had any free time I practiced those tricks! I got pretty good at around the world and loop the loop, and by the time Sunday rolled around I was pretty comfortable with it. I went back to youth, where only a handful of kids were interested. I showed them my tricks and won a poster. It remained hung in my room until after I left for college.
I still have the yo-yo, and believe it or not, it’s very easy to pick up and start yo-ing (by the way, do you know how hard it is to type yo-yo? It’s much easier to hit = instead of -, or to type you-you.) Years later my dad would again use his passion for the the yo-yo to teach entrepreneurship in the classroom as he taught Junior Achievement classes as a volunteer.
Is this a relevant story? Perhaps more than you think. It was one of those times where my dad connected with me. I have a special memory of my dad, and a fun story to pass on. I also have a memory of sticking with something and getting better at it–you know, it’s the practice makes perfect concept. Something as simple as a toy taught me about physics, motion, energy, and how a stick-to-it-tiveness attitude can give you confidence. Cool, huh?
A friend of mine is turning 50 this year and shared 50 moments in his life that made an impression on him. I’m not sure I could come up with 50, but I thought it might be helpful to reflect and write about some of those stories. These moments in my life shaped me and allowed me to become more confident, gave me passion, and shaped my faith. It’s fun to go through and think about these memories, even these small interactions with family. Take a moment to reflect on these memoirs. They are special and what make you- you!