What I've Been Thinking About...
Upon his death, poet John Keats said to a friend, "If I had had time". In his case, he was concerned that he did not do enough for the world, that there was still work to be done, and because of it, was disappointed that he would not be able to fulfill his plans. This is the tragedy of all great men and women. At one point or another, they run out of time.
I heard a story recently about a young lady losing her father unexpectedly. Just one day, out of the blue, he collapses and dies. This story was told to me from a high school student who knew the family. As we discussed what happened, I shared the ancient stoic philosophy of Memento Mori, which is a reminder that all life has an end. It is not something I typically talk to 17 year olds about but it came up that day.
Did the lesson hit home? I don't know. She rolled her eyes and said in a sarcastic tone "of course you would know that". I guess this wasn't the first time I shared some sort of ancient wisdom with them but hey, it is not my fault the ancient Greeks understood life better thousands of years ago than we do today. In concluding the talk, I just said to her that death is inevitable. Because of that, it is important that we make every moment count. It is important that we pursue the things that bring us joy and do the things that we want to do with our lives. We can not waste a moment because in any moment, our time can be up.
Fitness Tip of the Week
In the Bible there is a passage that reads, "for everything there is a season". I don't think they were discussing physical fitness at this time but we can steal this concept and apply it to our training program. Living in Pennsylvania we have four distinct seasons. Each season provides an opportunity to do something different outside in nature. The winter offers cold weather sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snow shoeing, whereas the spring and fall offer a great opportunity for hiking and walking and the summer time gives you the sun and water where activities like swimming or stand up paddle boarding can be used. The brain and body crave new challenges and the season change provides us with an opportunity to do something new.
Earlier in the week, Marisa signed us both up for a Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga class at Lake Nockamixon with Miss Melanie Yoga. It was a great challenge, one in which that needed full focus and attention. The structure of this class is nice. You meet up with the group and get your board, then you paddle out to where the yoga session occurs and do the class, then you paddle back to shore. All of this took place as the sun went down on the lake which provided a very nice backdrop. In case you are wondering, nobody fell in the lake and you stay relatively dry while doing it!
Thoughts from a Parent
In a previous edition of this newsletter I wrote about self-fulfilling prophecies. This is defined as someone making a false definition in the beginning, which then evokes a new behavior based off that misconception, which inevitably makes the original definition come true. That was a tricky thing to write so let me use an example to help.
Lets say there is a child who is still learning the ways of the world. He or she goes to a social gathering and there, they are introduced to people he or she doesn't really know well. It may be a lot for a young mind so they don't say much and stay quiet. At this point, an adult appears and starts saying things like, "Oh, they are just shy". Now, in this case, the shyness is the false definition. They are not shy, they are just in a new environment that they are unsure of. They need some time to get comfortable and feel out the crowd so to speak. If they don't get the time to do that and parents/adults start advocating for them, then they won't get practice at advocating for themselves. The child may accept the "shy role" giving to them by an adult and carry out that behavior in future interactions.
Let me make something clear: shyness is not an evil trait. It is common and quite normal. I, myself, have a tendency towards shyness so I consider myself an expert on the desire to avoid large social gatherings and/or public speaking. If you don't want your child to end up like me, there is something you can do. Research by professor Thalia Eley found that roughly 30% of shyness is genetic, the remaining 70% comes from our environment. Like most things, it is both nature and nurture. The more you involve your children in social situations, allowing them to speak for themselves, the more confident they are going to become. These are good things. It won't turn an introvert to an extrovert but it can turn a normally anxiety ridden trip to the store into something less harrowing!
What I've Been Reading...
The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time by Will Durant
It seems that the author may be one of the greatest historians of our time. Durant alongside his his wife published 11 volumes titled The Story of Civilization. In addition to those works, he has dozens of other books published, one of which is the title mentioned above. I believe the publisher does a better job summing up this book so I will share their words...
From the “Hundred Best Books” to the “Ten Greatest Thinkers” to the “Ten Greatest Poets,” here is a concise collection of the world’s most significant knowledge. For the better part of a century, Will Durant dwelled upon—and wrote about—the most significant eras, individuals, and achievements of human history. His selections have finally been brought together in a single, compact volume. Durant eloquently defends his choices of the greatest minds and ideas, but he also stimulates readers into forming their own opinions, encouraging them to shed their surroundings and biases and enter “The Country of the Mind,” a timeless realm where the heroes of our species dwell.
Quote of the Week
"But which of us is original except in form? What idea can we conceive today that has not enjoyed, in one garb or another, a hoary antiquity of time? It is easier to be original in error than in truth, for every truth displaces a thousand falsehoods" -- Will Durant
I hope you all have an awesome week!