Parenting has taught me a lot about running, but running has taught me even more about parenting. Both endeavors throw unexpected challenges right before your feet and expect your best effort in return. There are going to be good days, and bad days. You don’t always get to choose which one you are going to have on any given day. You don’t really get to choose the children or runs you have.
Yes, picking a good partner is helpful, having structure, rules and love is a great foundation to build upon, but that doesn’t always guarantee you anything when it comes to kids or runs. Every child and run is individual. You can only control so much of what goes into them.
Although, I cannot promise you will have an epic run if you put all the training in, I guarantee that if you put nothing into parenting or running, you will get negative experiences out of them. The more you put in, the more likely you are to get what you want out of it. What comes out is not always what you expect and in that, lays the challenge and beauty.
Parenting like running is hard and sometimes it hurts. There are many excuses to not take the time to be actively involved with your kids on a day-to-day basis. Everyone is busy working and trying to stay on top of everything they have going on in their lives. Kids are more independent and mobile than ever before. They have more freedom and more time without adult supervision, and many of parents expect them to be more independent and dependable than they are actually ready for, which causes our children to rebel when we turn around and try to set limits on their activities.
All of these are reasons to be more involved and know who your kids are with and where they are. You would never just show up at the starting line of a marathon without training and expect a good result. You cannot throw your children into the world without training and expect a good result either.
Most people are amazed when they find out that I have a seventeen-year-old son and a thirteen-year-old son. “You are not old enough to have a child that age,” is the ubiquitous response. Nevertheless, I am, and I do. Yes, I started early. I was seventeen when my oldest was born. Actually, I never intended to have children in the first place just as I never intended to become a runner and athlete.
Once it happened, I embraced it and have never turned back. I could not imagine my life any other way. I don’t claim to be a phenomenal parent or an expert on parenting just as I don’t claim to be a phenomenal runner or a running expert. I am the first one to admit my parenting flaws. I give it my best, and I never call it quits.