What I've Been Thinking About...
I hear stories weekly of how cruel kids can be to one another. A local newspaper just wrote that 10% of teens studied attempted suicide, and on top of that, an emergency room physician once told me that the pediatric ER is filled with suicidal teens. It is sad and it is scary. These past few weeks I have been thinking, maybe our approach to things like bullying has been flawed. Maybe instead of casting blame on the other child's parents or the schools lack of intervention, we can look at improving our own child's resiliency. But first, a story about siblings...
I think at some point in our lives, we have all witnessed siblings not being kind to one another. It usually comes in the form of big brother or sister finding something that really annoys their younger sibling. If the afflicted one shows signs of annoyance or frustration, big sibling continues to poke and prod. If the younger sibling shows no change in demeanor, even if their blood is boiling, often times the harassing ends and the older child moves on to something else. In school, if a bully finds something that irks you, and you physically show them how angry, annoyed or upset it makes you, they will not relent. They will continue to aggravate you with whatever nonsense they are spewing until they no longer get the desired result.
What I am proposing is that if we can give each child the tools to diffuse hostility, they will learn to rise above whatever is thrown their way. This is done by remaining calm in the face of danger. This is done by breathing through those anxiety riddled moments. This is done when we can teach kids that they aren't helpless, vulnerable and most importantly, that they are not a victim. In the face of Nazi guards and life in concentration camps, Viktor Frankl came to the conclusion that “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.” Every one of us has the ability to choose their response to situations. This takes practice, maybe years of it, but if we can teach kids that they are in control of their emotions, this skill can go a very long way in life. Lets be real, nastiness and verbal insults aren't going anywhere. They will always be present. How we respond to them matters.
Fitness Tip of the Week
I talk to people occasionally who make the claim that walking is lame. I am not of this mindset and think that if you intend on maintaining or improving your fitness and/or body composition, then a short (or long) walk each and every day makes a huge impact. Now, if you find yourself getting bored with these walks, there is a way we can spice it up.
The 10 minute walk test is a great challenge that gameifys the walking process. Here is how you do it: Find a good trail or route and mark a starting point. You will begin your walk every day at this exact spot. Set your timer for 10 minutes and see how far you can go. As the timer ends, take note of how far you went and each day, you try and beat that distance. There is no complex training plan needed for this. All you have to do is go a little bit further every day. After a few attempts, this will get pretty challenging. Around days 8-10, you will be hustling for about 10 minutes straight. When you get to this point, there is one very important rule that you must follow: NO RUNNING! When you feel you may have reached your limit, start all over again but this time breathe only through your nose while walking. Sorry mouth breathers but it is time to get a little nasal breathing in to challenge your cardiovascular system in a unique way!
Building Physically Resilient Children
While training some kids last week, I realized we were missing something. It seemed that performing exercises like jumping rope and hitting somersaults appear to be a lost art in our youth. With that in mind, I decided to break down how I would build a strong, resilient, injury proof child through the use of physical fitness. There are four areas I would address and would focus on them in this order...
What I've Been Reading
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
This book is shaping up to be one of my favorites of his. In the 1930's, as Fascism is starting to grow worldwide and thrive in places like Italy and Germany, a not-so-well known author (real name Eric Blair) decides to go to Spain during their Civil War to write about what is going on in that countries fight against the Fascists. As he gets there, he decides, well, lets put off the reporting for a second and let me get in on this action. He signs up to join the militia and eventually makes his way to the front lines.
This book gives a great account of this war and the craziness that surrounds it. To say Orwell walks the walk would be a huge understatement. During one firefight, he gets shot through his neck, nearly puncturing his windpipe. Instead of heading home to finish his writing he went back to the front lines to continue to fight the good fight against the opposition.
Everyone seems to be familiar with his books Animal Farm and 1984 but it is his non-fiction books that I am really starting to enjoy. It is in these books that you come to learn how he came to develop the ideas that are in those great works of fiction. His experiences, working in the coal mines, being homeless, fighting fascism in a civil war, all show up one way or another in his writing.
Quote of the Week
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -- Nelson Mandela
I hope you all have an awesome week!