Let me repeat that: No One Complained.
As an advocate of family fitness perhaps I gave you the impression that family fitness is an easy option for my family; that the children are enthusiastic to do something active and outdoors any time I suggest it; that these outings are filled with love and laughter, butterflies and rainbows.
Let me brief you on a scene from the bike ride before this one.
"I. Want. To. Go. Home." Says my 7 year-old daughter, sobbing as we ride on the trail.
"Are you hurt?" I scream back at her. "Because if you're not hurt you better stop crying! We are supposed to be having FUN!"Fun, it was not. In fact, until yesterday we didn't have a single ride where someone didn't have a complaint, attitude problem, or objection to bike riding at all. And, it was never the same kid. It was never fun. I felt like a hack, promoting family fitness, even offering advice on how to make "exercising with kids easy," when as of late, it was anything but.
But. I persevered. Isn't that always, ultimately, the definition of success?
I have to make my kids do a lot of things they don't always like to do: clean their room, shower, brush their teeth, eat their vegetables. I can't any more give up on these things as I can on being active.
Last week our paper ran an article about Olympic triathlete Gwen Jorgensen, who has discovered her talent for triathlon a little late, and who--this does wonders for my confidence as a fitness-promoting parent--hated those gawd-awful family bike rides as a child. I quote from the article:
"When she was growing up in Milwaukee, Jorgensen hated biking. She had to be bribed with ice cream just to go on a ride with her family."That's exactly what I do. Bribe them with ice cream. I admit, this flies in the face of the fit family ideal. Would I prefer they ride for the sake of the pure pleasure of the ride? Sure. But then I would have no power. Ice Cream is power. I'm a sucker for a scoop myself.
|Another angst-filled ride earlier in the summer. The ice cream parlor is the building behind us.|