Today is a big day for little C. Tonight is his favorite 5k- a scenic out and back run that traverses along the waterfront, and along our historic downtown. We’ll pass by restaurants with outdoor dining, and if I’m observant, I’ll see him on the way back. I loved watching him run this event last year. Since it was an out and back, I knew that I would see him, but the image is engraved in my mind, his small body keeping pace with runners much older than he, his grin on seeing me, the look of pride on his face at keeping up with all these adults. He told me he got so many high fives and “way to go’s” on that race and even caught up to a friend of mine and ran a portion of the race with him. My heart just swells with pride thinking of that image of him and I just want to cry.
That feeling of pride reminded me of The Hands Free Mama and her philosophies. Brought to my attention by my dear friend and running partner Tracy, she once mentioned an article she read about how children perceive parent’s comments. So often our words that we think are encouraging are detrimental. Think of a soccer game that you’ve watched children participate in. Parents are yelling on the sidelines, offering guidance, where to run, to kick the ball, to run faster. Rachel, of the Hands Free Mama, has this suggestion. Instead of telling our child to run faster, get to the ball quicker, make that landing in gymnastics, we should say these six words: “I love to watch you play“. I love to watch my son run. I love to see the muscles in his body move. I love to see him grin with pride. I love to see his body that my husband and I created. I even love that he’s so much faster than me and that I’ll have to meet him at the oranges post race. It’s a miracle in every way (except for him being faster than me).
So tonight, instead of telling him to run fast, or to beat out any kid in his age group, I will tell him that I look forward to seeing him run back to the finish while I’m still running forward. I will love to watch him play and I will be thankful that we can participate in this activity together.