How Do You Get Your Kids To Exercise?

photo-4 copy 2Man, my kids are lazy. Yesterday I set my drink down on the table and it was my daughter. (And I know I’m supposed to be all super careful in case my kids read this blog but, hey, if you’re one of my kids, hi. You’re lazy.) They don’t DO anything, you know? And here I’m talking in terms of physical exercise. Of course my kids do things. They have all kinds of weird thoughts and really interesting conversations and they sit for long periods of time with fair to decent posture. But crack a sweat? Not happening.

As usual, I try to understand my kids. I try not to smother their lives with nostalgia for my childhood or, worse, my unlived life. I mean, because, I used to ride a bike or a skateboard around town and me and my friends used to jump on the trampoline and off bridges into Spring Lake and, you know? We used to DO things. And I get it. Okay. Things are different now. Kids are connected today in different ways and they have new modes of interaction, so they’re not going to be active in the ways I was active. Fine. But shouldn’t they move? I have this weird feeling that kids should move.

It’s not like it’s not MODELED. I run between 40-50 miles a week and their mother’s an active gym member who runs too. So why don’t the kids move? Is this how they rebel? Are my kids individuating by resisting physical health? “Mom and Dad exercise, man. Mom and Dad are lame. You got a light?” Could that be it?

I guess I just assumed (hoped?) that they’d stumble into some movement based activities that they’d enjoy, you know? And pursue on their own. My girlfriend’s daughters play basketball, volleyball, run cross country, ride horses – they just DO stuff and they like it. And my son – he tried soccer and my daughter’s danced a couple lessons; they’ve both run a couple 5Ks and done a little yoga but, left to their own devices, they don’t really want to walk more than a few steps across an empty space to even grab something they want. Is this normal? This post, I suppose, is a cry for help.

Because sometimes I question my assumption that my kids should exercise because who am I, really, in terms of being someone who knows what a person should do? I’m not the world’s best somebody. In fact, I’m hardly anybody. What do I know? Again, it’s just a hunch, a sneaking suspicion: The kids should move. No? Yes? I mean, childhood obesity is supposedly an epidemic but, then again, there’s fat acceptance and people should love themselves no matter what and maybe I’m seeing through a bias, discriminating against non-movers and anti-shakers.

Being a parent is hard.

I’m pretty sure, though, that I err on the side of permissive. There’s a part of me that says I should make the kids do stuff (because I’m the dad and I say so), but another part of me thinks I should just let the kids be so they blossom into whomever their souls beckon into selfhood and that side usually wins because maybe I’m a hippie. But do my kids’ souls really consider being coffee tables their vocation? Doubt it. So I’m leaning toward enforcing some exercise time. Do your kids move? Because they want to? Or you make them? How? Do you think you’re a better parent than me? Explain. When did we decide that good kids and bad kids were the direct results of good parenting and bad parenting? Who decides who the good kids are and the bad kids are? Do you think movement is a necessary component of life living in the 21st century? Why or why not? How are you? Explain.
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