My kids love to run. They run from the bedroom to the bathroom, they run downstairs, they run to the car, they run from the car into school. All day they run. It struck me this morning as I dropped them off – when do we stop running? When do we think it’s inappropriate to run everywhere? Is it when we hit those dreaded teenage years where rushing to anything or showing any ounce of enthusiasm is uncool? Or is it when we leave school and notice that no-one else runs so we’d better walk, sedately and somberly.
The other day I ran with one of my sons somewhere and he turned to me and said “I didn’t know you could run!” – made me laugh but actually how sad – what else has he noticed in me that indicates I’m maybe not as fun as I could be? How many times have I sat on the floor with him to play a game, or wrestle on the rug, or thrown snowballs at each other (just the other week actually) but you get the point. It’s not even about physical activity I don’t think. When I see them run it looks freeing and spontaneous, full of anticipation for whatever it is they are running to. How do I show that to them? How can I keep that attitude alive so that when they are teenagers or adults they run at life with the same vigour?
Here’s my random suggestions:
- Be enthusiastic about the small things – watching a new film together, going to the same park you may have been to a million times, being excited about a party or family outing. Show that the little things all added up together makes up the big things.
- Reflect on what happens in the day – when mine come home from school I’ve given up on the “what did you do today” as you get no response. Instead I ask “what was the best thing about today, what was the worst?”. That way they have to reflect and think about the day. You can do the same with your day too – maybe talk with them about what was the best and worst part of your day.
- Think about the feelings involved in running; the energy, the lightness, the freedom. How can you bring that into everything you do today. Maybe just by focusing on the things you love to do – the things that naturally bring you energy, lightness and freedom.
- Finally be spontaneous. Although for lots of our children who’ve experienced trauma surprises are not so great, you can find safe ways to be spontaneous. What about picking them up from school and taking them to their favourite restaurant for tea one day, or tickling them when you walk past them, smiling and giving them a wink occasionally. I don’t know – you will know what works with your children best or maybe trying a new approach you never know what might happen.
So when you see a child run today remember this blog and I hope you find the enthusiasm, energy, freedom and lightness to have a great day and run after life.