Today I’m thinking about movement and play. I’m thinking about how climbing, tumbling, rolling and balancing is so inherently part of most childhoods. I’m thinking about how as a kid it’s a part of every day play to race our friends, see who can lift the heaviest thing, carry the heaviest person the farthest… and all in friendly competition against ourselves and others. What a great way to build strength and self confidence.
Personally, I can remember priding myself on my strength, speed and toughness as a kid. I remember wanting to be just as good as all the older kids… and definitely as good (or better) than all of the boys. I remember the day I beat Ian (“the fastest kid”) in a race; and the day I had the fastest time for running around the block. I remember the multiple obstacle courses and “mini-olympics” we set up in our back yard – and the flocks of kids who wanted to participate. I remember The Tree we climbed (a really high one, I might add) – and all just for fun. I am quite certain that some of my own competitiveness in sport has its roots in these early experiences.
And now, as I look at my own kids, I hope that we are giving them enough of a playground to build their own strength and confidence. I hope that we give them enough opportunities to explore their own capabilities. And I truly and sincerely hope that most of the children I meet have the chance to do the same.
Don’t get me wrong, we have given our kids lots of great experiences: back-country canoeing/camping in Algonguin, climbing mountains in the Rockies, jumping waves in the Atlantic ocean, swimming, boating, boogie-boarding, hiking, skiing, rock climbing and more. But in our day-to-day life? I think we sometimes can play a little more often. Especially in the wintertime. In the winter it seems our playtime comes in spurts rather than in daily doses. (Kind of like: play hard… or hibernate)
As for me, flash forward a few decades, and other than being a mom who wants my kids to be strong, healthy and capable, I also am feeling the push to try new skills myself. Maybe it’s due to a workout yesterday with lots of handstand pushups, followed by time “playing” on the bars. Maybe in part due to a talk I gave today to a group of yoga instructors – all about the principles in Life by Design – and the essential role movement, mobility and strength plays in helping each of us strive for exceptional health. Maybe it was watching Ethan explain his cardboard box transmogrifier/time machine (he’s recently become a fan of Calvin and Hobbes) and the realization that the date on his time machine in 2086 will make me 110 years old… and my thought was not “would I still be here?” It was more like: “I’ll be getting pretty old and wrinkly by then.” Obviously I’ll have to take exceptional care of myself to reach that one… but I think I’m up for it…
And so, in the spirit of moving, playing and being young, I am noticing that one of my new-found joys is the gymnastics components in crossfit. Headstands, handstands, balancing feats, rope climbs, rolling and tumbling all make me feel like a kid at play. I see a new move and I think to myself: “I wonder if I can do that?!” Just like today, when I watched this awesome video:
Maybe I’m about to become a 37-year-old gymnast..?! Sounds like fun to me.
As for my kids, I want them to find what lights them up, plays up their abilities, creates strength, and let’s them try new things. I’ll just check in every once in a while to make sure they can still run fast, lift heavy stuff, perform acrobatic feats (or at least attempt them) and play hard. Just for the heck of it. Because they can. Because they are designed to move and play – and to never forget it.
Strong, healthy and fit. Full of adventure and full of LIFE. That’s what it’s all about.