This morning my seven year old said, “What happens when you don’t run mom?” We were on our way to my boy’s first day of school and I was running while they rode their bikes along the trail between our house and school.
“Well nothing I guess,” I said. “But I feel better when I do run.” I liked the idea that Miles thought something bad might happen to me if I didn’t run and wondered what he saw in his head….maybe he thought I would get sick, or blow up like the girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or maybe like his Hex Bugs, I would loose my power if I didn’t “recharge” every day.
After dropping them at the front door of school, I continued through the neighborhood on my morning run and thought about the message I was sending my boys about daily exercise. Even though Miles’ question was funny, and I was glad that he knew running was important to me, I didn’t really want him to think something bad would happen to me if I didn’t run. I wanted my boys to know that I run because it makes me feel good, because it gives me 30 minutes to clear my head, 30 minutes to push myself, to sweat, to get my heart rate up, and to listen only to the pounding of my feet (instead of the screaching of my children!).
But maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing for them to be aware of the dangers of not running. Because in reality, running every day is part of what keeps my blood sugars close to normal, and is part of what keeps me motivated to eat well, and to be active throughout the day. I’d rather they think about exercise as a way to feel good, but I also am a big believer in being honest with my kids. I don’t want them to grow up unaware of scary things in life. I think it’s important to look at life as filled with pros and cons, light and dark, good and bad.
Their mom lives with diabetes, and I want them to know that I run because it makes me feel good, but also because it keeps the bad stuff at bay.