For the longest time, I’ve put off teaching my kids to tie their shoelaces.
What age is the right age?
And is it even necessary, I mean, really? We live in an age of technological wonders. Velcro has been around for decades. (By the way, in the last xxxx years I learned that “Velcro” is a brand-name — if you’re not dealing with the name brand, you’re actually talking about “hook-and-loop strips”. The more you know!) When is the first “smart shoe” going to be invented? (It ties itself, then reads you your notifications while cooking your dinner!)
I think I’m going to continue to put it off for as long as I can find shoes in their size that close up with Velcro.
It’s just such a pain to teach kids anything that deals with fine motor skills, and lace-tying is among the finest skills you’re going to ask of a kid. Think of all the things you have to do! Cross over, make a loop, loop another string around the stem of the loop, make ANOTHER loop, pull that loop through the gap created by looping your second string around the first loop… I’ve just typed that out after untying and retying my own shoes and it still makes my head hurt.
And that’s if you use the bunny-ears method you learned in grade school.
A few years ago I learned a (far superior!) method for shoe-tying that gets the job done in about half the time. Why? Because the information is there to be learned, that’s why. It’s called the Fieggen knot and if you invest the five minutes necessary to learn the method, it will change your shoe-tying life, to the bemusement of friends and family. (“Look at this,” you’ll say. “I can tie my shoes really fast!” And you’ll do it. And they’ll shrug and say, “that’s neat, I guess.” You, too, can create this sense of underwhelmed wonder!) But forget trying to teach this intricate little movement of the fingers to a grade-school kid.
I don’t even tie my own shoes that often. I leave them loose enough to slip on and off, so I can go for weeks without re-tying my laces. But if you do that with a kid, they’ll be throwing shoes all over the room because they run everywhere and they run with the grace of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.
But both of the kids play sports, which means laced cleats, which means shoes are gonna come untied a lot — and they have to be tied a bit tighter than slip-on status. So I guess I’m gonna have to bite the bullet and teach them, lest I be that parent constantly jogging onto the pitch at a dead ball to tie their kid’s shoes.
You don’t wanna be that guy.