elitefts™ Sunday edition
There’s nothing I detest more than moving – absolutely nothing. One would think that a person who moved as much as my family has, traveling all over the country from job to job, would be used to it by now, but nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past three years, we lived in a house on the “executive” side of town. That means lots of BMW’s and 4,000 square-foot homes with small backyards and absolutely no children present whatsoever. No good sidewalks for bike riding, no play grounds, none of those “essentials” that a high-energy family with five young boys kind of needs in order to thrive. So, despite my profound aversion to moving, we found a house in a community that has these “essentials” and moved our 14-metric tons of crap into it.
As is protocol in any move, we brought all of the essentials – you know, beds, clothes, furniture, cooking utensils, etc., into the house and piled the rest of the miscellaneous stuff in the garage because we were simply too tired to care about finding a place for it at the time. That was almost three weeks ago and I’m quite ashamed to say that the garage is still a catastrophe. I spent hours looking through random boxes to find stupid stuff like cuff links and light bulbs with very limited success. My whole family avoided it in hopes that the whole mess will just go away. I realize that this is not a great strategy, but all the same, it is what it is.
A couple of nights ago, I was fortunate enough to get off work a little earlier than normal, and you can imagine my surprise when I pulled up into the driveway and saw that my garage door was open (exposing our mess to the entire neighborhood) with my four oldest sons dragging my elitefts™ Econo Prowler® onto the sidewalk. In hindsight, I don’t know how in the world they found it, but there it was…ready to be “played” with. My eldest came up to me with a huge 8-year-old grin and told me, “Daddy, we want to push this thing!” I don’t know why this idea sprang into their heads, but I knew that despite being tired from the day, this was a request that I absolutely had to fulfill.
It didn’t take me long to change into my gym clothes and before you know it, we were all pushing the Prowler® up and down the sidewalk. Well, most of us were. The three-year-old was doing a lot more “Prowler® riding” than “Prowler® pushing.” The middle two found that they could really get the thing moving if they “tag-teamed” it and the eldest, much to both my delight and dismay, found that he could both push and pull the prowler by himself. After about a half-hour of this sheer craziness, we all found ourselves laying on the front lawn of our new house laughing and talking while attempting to catch our breath. It was an amazing evening…one of the best that I had in a while and one that I won’t soon forget.
Why share this story? There are a couple of reasons why I feel this is significant.
- I think that those of us who have very consuming jobs AND children often get stuck in a cycle of saying “no” to our kids when they ask us to do things like go on evening bike rides, or have a picnic in the backyard because we perceive that we simply don’t have the energy to do these things. I know that I have, on many occasions, said “no” to a game of catch or a trip to the park because I felt it was more important to recover from my crazy work day. When we do this, we forfeit opportunities to make great memories and more importantly, strengthen our relationships with them. Ultimately, when we say yes to our children, we aren’t necessarily choosing to ride a bike or have a picnic, we’re choosing them. When you decide to purposefully connect with your children, it is always “regret” free and I’m pretty certain that most parents would agree that instead of draining our energy, we actually “gain” more energy by doing it.
- Our children are always watching us and are interested in the things that we do, so invite them when possible and make the experience fun! Why were the boys so interested in pushing the Prowler®? They were interested because they saw me do it on countless occasions and they wanted to see if it was something that they would like to do. Now normally, my weekly Prowler® sessions could be described as anything but fun, however, because they’re so young, I had the uncommon good sense to realize that they weren’t training, they were playing…and playing has the prerequisite of “fun.” I didn’t push them and I didn’t really even coach them. There will come a time when they’re older for me to do both of those things. However, their initial experience needed to be completely positive. I want them to want to do this again with me and given that their first experience was a good one, the chances are likely that they will.
- One of the coolest things about being involved with strength sports is that you actually get to be a super hero in the eyes of your children. I will never forget the look of complete admiration in the eyes of my boys when I was doing some of my more “serious” Prowler® sprints that evening. While a child’s perception of strength is often not on target, they do possess the intelligence to realize the significance of making something hard look easy. Society gives them many reasons why they shouldn’t be impressed with their parents, but as far as I can tell, there’s nothing wrong with being your child’s hero.
In closing, I do have to say that the Econo Prowler® is truly awesome for kids. It’s lighter than its big brother, it doesn’t take up a lot of space and it’s extremely affordable. It also gets your kids to drink more water and gets them to bed BEFORE their bedtime. Every parent should have one!
If you have any great stories about similar experiences with your kids, please share them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.