I had the most amazing experience recently that I want to share with you. My hope is that you can have an experience that is similar and just as rewarding.
On a Saturday evening recently, my oldest daughter and I had a date at our church. Our men’s group was showing the movie, Courageous. Angelo King, former Dallas Cowboy and Detroit Lion, was also present to give his testimony. I’d been looking forward to this night for quite a long time. I’d seen Courageous and was anxious to see what my daughter’s reaction might be. If you’ve not seen this movie, I highly recommend you make an effort to see it with open eyes and an open heart. It could change your life.
One of the struggles in the movie is between a father and son. The son is a runner who wants his dad to run a father-son 5K with him, but his dad doesn’t see the importance. This disconnect causes a huge rift in their relationship.
Toward the end of the movie, father and son are running together. As my daughter and I were watching the movie together at church, I reached over and poked her and just smiled. She looked up at me and said, ''Yeah, dad, they run three miles. You run like, 10.'' Ouch, that sort of hurt. I hadn’t thought about the fact that, as much as she has a desire to run with me, she might be intimidated or embarrassed because she doesn’t have my experience. I immediately responded with, ''I’ll run one mile if you’ll run with me.''
My daughter and I spend lots of time talking about her desire to be athletic. She is a retired gymnast at the ripe old age of 12 (medical reasons forced her to leave the sport). She is at her best when she is active and not sitting in front of the television. She is entering the 7th grade athletic program next year and hopes to run cross country. I, of course, am very supportive and excited by this.
Since I started using a Garmin to clock my running, I’ve ran nearly 1,500 miles. However, the day after this movie, I ran the absolute best mile of my life! My daughter and I laced up our shoes and we went for that one-mile run. I have never enjoyed it more in my life, to be honest. Having her right beside me and talking to her, checking her while running, was simply amazing.
We learned a few things during and after this short run. First of all, running shoes are a must. I knew beforehand that my daughter may have issues with the shoes she had, but they were the best she had at the moment. A good pair of running shoes is something that we will definitely invest in for the future. She also learned that running one mile isn’t as far as she thought. I think this may have been because the route we ran wasn’t a straight line or around a track, so it seemed like it wasn’t as far. She also learned that dad can help her out, and it’s not just nagging if I’m asking her if she’s breathing. She even sped up at the very end of the run and then told me, ''Dad, I just wanted to get it over with.'' I laughed and told her that I completely understand that!
This photo was taken as we walked out the door.
The training has started, as she now wants to run a half marathon with me in November. Shortly after her 13th birthday, we will run 13.1 together, step for step. Yes, I’m a softy, and I’ll probably cry.
Fathers, I want to challenge each and every one of you to get active in your child’s life. Get off the couch, get out of the chair at your desk, and get busy doing the most important job you’ll ever have. Maybe it’s marching band, maybe it’s softball, but whatever "it" is, get active with them. It is crucial that it be something they are interested in. We are called to be an example for them in everything we do. Let’s set the right example for our sons and our daughters. Show them that life is meant to be lived. Get out from behind the desk, get away from the television, and live life with your children.
I have been active with my children for several years now, loving every minute and leading by example. I have learned so much about my daughters by taking an interest in their hobbies. It is my hope that this one-mile run with my oldest daughter will open an entirely new chapter of my journey.
How do you involve your family/children in your journey? Parents, what is the next active adventure you are planning to do with your kids?
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