A long weekend is just what the doctor orders when it comes to getting rid of some of our built-up stress. And even if you’re not suffering from stress long weekends are a great time to catch up on time with your family.
This past weekend was one such one for me.
And what better to satisfy the needs of our three-year old son than to head to two very different kinds of parks.
Sunday was devoted to a park with an assortment of slides, swings, and jungle gyms. Monday was reserved for Universal Studios.
Both offer large spaces and lots of fun for the whole family.
Watching my son run around and play on Sunday and then on Monday seeing his reaction to a new ride (for us anyway) really got me thinking – while we are constantly teaching, guiding, explaining, protecting and instilling our children with a sense of right and wrong, at the same time they are influencing us in more ways than one.
They affect us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually though we might not realize it.
In fact, they help us stay young.
It doesn’t seem that way at times when I come home from spending the day with my son only to pass out on the floor of my apt because I simply can’t make it to the bed.
These days I find myself exhausted by the time Sunday rolls around.
With my son taking a nap around 3pm each day, that time on Sunday is reserved for my wife and I to try and catch up on some TV shows that we may have missed or a well-deserved nap.
So if we’re so tired why do I say that he’s helping keep us young?
First let’s take a look at the physical aspect.
Children are energetic. And they have no concept of keeping energy in reserve. They go full out.
It’s the cutest thing to see a child say, “I’m not tired. I don’t want to take a nap,” and have them completely shut down a few minutes later.
They don’t even realize they are tired, they just go, go, go and then crash.
As such parents have to keep up. And between the ages of 3 and 5 nearly every kid is a handful as they’re surprisingly quick, strong and cunning.
You take your eye off them for a few seconds and they’re gone.
Sometimes parents even have their young kids wear those squeaky shoes which they think will be so helpful in keeping track of where their child is only to find out that our minds soon adapt to the sound and don’t notice its absence unless focusing on it.
And with distractions everywhere you have to be ever vigilant.
Then you have days at the park like we had the other day. We had to climb up rope tunnels, clamber over wooden hurdles, go through smallish tunnels and the like. While my son had trouble with the height of some obstacles, my wife and I were sore all over the next day from using muscles we hadn’t used in, dare I say it, years.
Finally you get a workout from carrying them home when their little legs just can’t take them any further.
Yes, kids most definitely help us keep in shape.
Mentally kids keep us in the know whether we like it or not.
They are in the trenches and have access to the latest trends of technology as well as the time to play around with it.
I remember my Atari game console being pretty badass back in the day but these days Playstations and XBoxes boggle the mind. And with 3D technology beginning to hit its stride I wonder just what the next level of gaming will look like.
The controllers alone intimidate me with their 8 buttons and the equivalent of a joystick. Sometime in the future I may finally break down and get him a console only to find myself on the losing end of many games. (I’ll practice at night when he’s gone to bed so I can at least give him a run for his money)
Children also teach us our own mistakes. How? Because they pick up our habits; both good and bad.
- Chew with your mouth open – don’t be surprised to see your children do the same thing.
- Use bad language – expect a mouthful back from your kids.
- Don’t take care of your teeth – hope your family has dental insurance.
- Waste your life away on the sofa – wonder how your kids will turn out.
When we see them picking up bad habits at a young age we must ask ourselves where they are getting them from. Most of the time the answer is IN THE MIRROR.
Kids allow us to see the world through their eyes. A world of discovery and amazement; something that some adults forget.
They show us the joy in the simplest of things:
- Watching insects wander around the garden.
- Riding a bicycle.
- Jumping in a puddle.
- Playing catch.
They also teach us patience. I must say that I’ve learned to control my anger much more since having a kid simply because I didn’t want to show that side of me unless I had to.
Finally they help us grow spiritually, regardless of your belief system.
A child is a wonder. Created out of nothing their growth is nothing short of a miracle, both physically and mentally.
They teach us to believe in the good of things. And give us hope for our future.
Raising a child is never easy. And as my father once told me, “You never know if you’ve done a good job until they grow up and by that time it’s too late to make any changes.”
Having a child is an opportunity. An opportunity to not only help a child grow but for us to grow as well. An opportunity to right any wrongs we may have.
Will we get it all right? Wishful thinking.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.