I've been a runner for around 5 years, and among everything I've learned about training techniques, proper fueling, and complementary exercise, the most I've learned about is myself. Running has taught me more about myself than any self-help book or counseling session I've worked through. Yesterday, running taught me a lot about my kids.
Yesterday the Tagalongs had their first preschool fundraiser: a fun run. Danae is our little runner girl who contends that she's going to run with me "when me get bigger." True to form, she raced around the track, dodging friends and making sure her laps were logged. Caleb rocked his race, too -- but he rocked his high-five game even more. That kid stopped for every.single high-five he could get. I foresee juggling sports schedules and fitting 18 teammates into my van in my future ...
And then there was James ... Despite saying "me gonna run 10 miles," he DNFed. The loud atmosphere combined with a tumble at the beginning did him in, and he sat on the sidelines cheering with me. I gave him several opportunities to rejoin his friends, but he wasn't having it. Instead, he seemed to take great delight in cheering for everyone and pointing out his friends to me. After the race, as Caleb and Danae recounted how much fun they had, James seemed to get disappointed in himself: "Me not finish my race!" he wailed. "No," I said, "But you did something just as important: you cheered your friends on." That cheered him up immediately, and he started babbling about what he saw. James, I don't think, will be our sporty guy, but he will be our cheerleader. And in a world that's getting to be so competitive, I think that's necessary.