Last night, my son decided to entertain me while his show (The Emperor's New Groove) was playing. His choice of game for most the evening doesn't really have a name, though it involves lots of running. Basically, he runs from the door into the garage, through the living room, touches a cabinet in the kitchen, and back to the garage door. Repeat. Often.
Many parents would immediately tell any child doing this to stop. And honestly, that was my first instinct. Seeing the sheer glee in his eyes, and listening to the sincere laughter coming from my son, I quashed that instinct. So long as safety is assured, childhood excitement of this nature should never be stopped. In fact, it should be promoted.
Do you remember when you were a child? How the simple act of running, regardless of destination, was a source of joy in and of itself. No times, no age group ranking, no health concerns, no finish lines, no training plans. Just pure, innocent, uncontrollable excitement to be moving.
When do we lose that? When does this pure love of motion turn into work? Probably about the same time we start getting told to stop running around and to sit down. As adults, we stifle the love of running our kids display so freely. It's actually a bit sad.
Imagine how children might turn out if that love of activity was promoted and developed. Perhaps video games and computers would be a diversion from the physical instead of the other way around. Perhaps we would raise a generation of athletes who participate for the love of the sport. Perhaps training would be a hobby instead of something they do because they must.
Many adults try to stop my son from running. I politely ask them to refrain from doing that. After making sure he is safe from injury, I send my son on his way. On his full speed ahead, laughing like a madman, glint in his eye way. Perhaps, if he runs enough, some of his attitude will rub off on me.