Friday, May 18, 2012
Thoughts from the Walks
Because I have such a large fan base, I really have been working hard to keep posting without letting any form of burnout set in. Since the first installment of Thoughts from the Walks I have pushed myself a little too hard when I've been out on my walks to come up with some little odd factoid or entertaining observation of life that clearly has become my trademark. I believe inspiration can't be found by those working to find it. Which is why today I really let my mind wander, and I was pretty impressed with myself.
First, I saw a guy driving a very old pickup truck. Around town (Meridian/Boise, Idaho) you get this mix of people who could live in any city, anywhere in the country and the good ole' folks who have spent most of their lives on a farm or simply out in the mountains somewhere. Country folk. This guy looked like he could be on the poster of a John Deere ad, with one exception. He had one of those really long cigarette holders like Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians. Maybe I missed something when it comes to the use of those. I just get this picture in my head of those being exclusive to fancy women from the 50's and 60's. Since I am fairly certain it was just some guy in a dusty flannel shirt and not Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's, I was confused. Particularly since he wasn't even wearing black silk gloves which, I was under the impression, were issued with those cigarette holders. Anyway, I thought about writing something about how I think most little boys at some point put on Mom's makeup or play with the found pair of pantyhose, blah blah blah I had one My Little Pony that my G.I. Joe figures would ride into glorious battle with Cobra.
Then, I saw a store which has recently been closed down. It was owned by what I can only describe as a couple of "biker chicks" who were trying to sell clothing and jewelry so younger ladies could wear it and feel tough. It's exactly what you'd think. Lots of black, with sparkle skulls and flashes of pink on everything, ya know, since it's for girls. So I thought about writing something about the newly formed void for pink and black clothing/jewelry with skulls on it, and how tragic it would be for my boys someday to not have this store as a source of gifts for their tough girlfriends. I decided it would be too much of a.....wait for it.......
What did I land on? Something actually serious, and something quite personal to me.
When I was probably 10 or so, my brother pointed to a very obese guy (back before the "Hey America! You're Fat!" news reports were on every night) and said, "That's gonna be you someday." So began my obsession with my weight.
During my youth I was involved in a variety of activities that kept me, I think, fit. From soccer to band activities, to even a small running phase, I did lots of different things. Still, when you get down to it, for me everything started in school. I always liked P.E., in fact, up until high school my favorite teacher was a P.E. teacher. They are in the very cool position of helping to get our youth more active, and if done right they can really make the time outside fun and not just a sad lesson in who gets picked last. For the first two and a half years of being a stay at home Dad, I didn't have a working vehicle. That simply meant the boys and I were limited in our outdoor activities by what we could walk to. Now that the ManVan is in our lives, we get out more. Period. It puts all of us in a better mood. Even if it's just a trip to the store. Getting outside; being active can and does change your day.
The thing is, this is about one of my big fears in parenting. I want my kids to have great memories throughout their childhoods, and not be haunted by something said by some jack-hole. P.E. can be a great way to incorporate fitness into young kids as well as develop social/teamwork/friendship skills. It should be a great deal more then unlocking the equipment locker and telling the class to be careful and wake you up in an hour. Which is why, I was rather upset when I walked by a certain school on my walk today. There was a class of kids out for P.E. playing baseball. Split up into two games actually, I guess there was that many kids. On the track, right smack in the middle of the two games was the coach....in a chair....with a nice cool drink. Now, it's not about the beverage per se, but seriously..come on. When I took guitar lessons, the guy didn't lay down on his couch and just nod along during the 30 minutes. My 4th grade teacher never sat down during class...and she was pregnant. I honestly support teachers. I almost became one! There's a great deal of crap that gets thrown at the teacher's feet that should be just as much the parent's responsibility. However, when the bell rings, you have to engage your class and keep them motivated. So next time you find yourself at the gym, find a buddy who's willing to sit close by and just have a sandwich or read a magazine...I'm sure you'll be real motivated to keep going.
For the record: This was not some passing glance. They were on an open football field that I had full view of long before and long after. Easily 10 minutes of walking. The guy didn't move a muscle and couldn't have been more bored.
Side note: I get that this is a little outside the spectrum of "My son kicks me in the nuts." Sometimes I have serious things to say, and sometimes not. While this was on the heavier (not a pun) side, I hope that my take on more serious topics are just as readable as the lighthearted stuff. But if it helps: