The Walk vs the Run

When would walking be advantageous over running? Not very often; most would probably answer. There are great benefits to running, and I’m full of the subject especially considering that my husband and I took up the sport not too long ago. I found that even though walking is great exercise for most people, if you’re pretty fit and need a little more of a workout, intensity is the key here. We need to make the exercise a little more intense if we’re going to get the benefits for our health. And because running is more intense than walking, the general health benefits are higher. Within reason, more pain is more gain, etc. etc.

But what I would like to share with you today, has nothing to do with the sport. Picture this: Rushing to get your little girl ready for school. She is known for her noodle-ing and feeling like she has all the time in the world. She wakes up with her brother’s alarm clock, but will stay in bed for another 45 minutes before she even thinks about getting up. She likes to leave everything for the end. So all of a sudden, when she realizes she has only 10 minutes left to get to school, she gets dressed, prepares her breakfast, only has time to eat half of it, puts on her jacket and boots and cries her way down the stairs.

As a frustrated mom, I now choose not to say anything, for the reason that I might just blurt out all the wrong, impatient and angry words pent up inside. And on top of it, we have to rush, and we have to run to school. I get to start my exercise early for the day, running to school every morning. For me, it’s not that difficult, I have long legs compared to her. I ate my breakfast an hour ago and I’ve already started my day.

But do I even stop to think about her? She just ate breakfast. She’s much smaller than me. She’s wearing a heavy coat and lots of clothes that weigh her down. She has a heavy backpack on. But all that doesn’t really matter, because she needs to learn a lesson. She needs to suffer the consequences of her lack of punctuality, of taking so long to get out of bed. So that next time she’ll do better. But will she really? It’s been a few months that we’ve been through this and today I just got the “Aha!” moment.

I realized that during our run, even if I don’t say anything, it’s those unsaid things that yell out loud. It’s my vibes of anger that she feels, or it’s my spirit of frustration that she senses. And then I leave her at the school gate, all the while crying because she’s late and her class is already in their classroom, so she has to go all by herself.

I walk home, this time with that “Aha!” feeling heart-broken for my little one. I just left her at school crying, but will she feel any better there? Who’s going to comfort her or give her an encouraging word for the day? She’ll be expected to work hard and focus and concentrate, all the while feeling heavy inside because of our rushed frustrated morning. How’s that for helping to build up her self-confidence? What did I do to build on our relationship? How’s that for being a parent to my child?

I’ve made a point to “celebrate” and enjoy the very few times that we get to walk to school. I say “Yeah! I get to walk and talk with my favorite girl!” And we’ll be on our way, laughing and enjoying the special bonding moments we’ll have, just the two of us together. Now she asks me every day, “Mom, do we get to walk or run today?”