Every now and then, something causes me to give pause and think. Sometimes, a situation presents itself that will change my perspective and bring up old beliefs and feelings. I like when this happens, as I feel this is a sign of growth and maturing.
We have four kids. Each and every one of them is a unique person, with different gifts and talents, different loves and hates, different everything. It’s always a challenge to tailor our parenting to each one, and to make sure that they are getting what they need to mature into a responsible adult. I want to raise GOOD people that stand for something. I want to have children that I can send out into the world to make a difference. I want them to love and be loved for who they are, and to not be afraid to be who they truly are.
One of our kids has struggled a little with growing. He has always been a little behind with his growth spurts, and he tries not to act like it bothers him. He is so much like me, sometimes it’s funny – and sometimes it really works against him, because I know what he is going to do before he even does it. It frustrates him to no end, but it also gives us a special bond because he knows that I “get him”. I understand how his mind works.
He is also having some issues with his weight and his fitness. Our other kids don’t seem to have any issues right now in these areas, so he has become self conscious about it lately. He has a different build than everyone else, too, so that makes him stand out even more. It bothers him, but he doesn’t want anyone to know.
Trying to get him motivated to take control over his activity has been hard; but, I think we’ve finally had a breakthrough. He has been consistently active for a month now, and takes an interest in choosing his own activities, writing them on the calendar, and working toward being more responsible with his fuel choices. Note: I don’t say the word “diet” and I don’t always use the word “food”, either. We talk about “fuel” instead, because that’s how I want him to see it. I don’t want negative feelings associated with eating or fitness…or anything, really. So, when we talk, I say things like, “What kind of fuel do you need today for your strength training workout?” or “What type of fuel would be better for you today? What do you plan on doing with your fuel?” It seems to be working, and he’s definitely in the driver seat more now.
We have really focused on getting his resting heart rate down, since this is a good marker of increased health and fitness. He is so excited when we check it weekly. I like that he can focus on that number and watch it change for the better. We also did girth measurements so that he can see how his muscles develop and change. I don’t want him to focus on his weight; and I told him that is just a number that tells him his relationship with gravity.
This journey with him is helping me, too. That’s the thing about raising kids. You help them, and they help you, too. This journey is one that we are on together. I have been learning to start changing my perspectives about fitness, fuel, lifestyles, etc. It’s like starting over. I am re-learning what fitness really means to me, as a mom, a wife, a runner, a….whatever. It’s been great.
The best part is seeing the smile on his face when he finishes a particularly tough workout. We high five, and he walks upstairs with a little swagger. It’s so nice to see him take pride in what his body can achieve. I remind him that he is strong and that he is capable of anything he puts his mind to.
That’s good advice for all of us adults, too. YOU are stronger than you think. YOU can accomplish anything you put your mind to. YES YOU CAN.
Run happy. Run long.
Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.