Red Pill Parents, please welcome Out of the Blue, our first Red Pill Contributor. Look for a follow-up to her story, as well as others in the future. Enjoy … RPM & RPP
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Isn’t it funny that we accept the fact that even though taking a walk is so natural, the idea of walking to an event, to the store, to do errands, to school, etc. never even crosses our minds? Well, if you live in suburbia like I do — and most of the people I know — walking can be a daunting task. Is it possible to walk two miles to the store and carry home your week’s groceries, or perhaps even just a gallon of milk? Well, no thank you! What about my hectic schedule that only allows time for a quick drive to and from after-school activities? How can we carry all the sports equipment and gear we need, right? Right???
Well, I really started thinking about it. I started “Red Pill” thinking about it, to be more precise.
During a recent family trip to Europe, I was reminded how many people walk and the amount of walking people do there. Our friends took us walking just about everywhere. After a few sore days, my son and I found ourselves feeling great and having much more energy. This led me to wonder how I could bring this into my own life.
The opportunity presented itself on our first morning back. It was a school day and we all woke up at 5 a.m., our bodies still on German time. We all had lots of energy, and at about 6:30 I realized we really had a bunch of time. ”Why not walk to school?” I blurted out without thinking. As I expected, my son gave me that look of disapproval. ”How are we supposed to do that? Nobody walks to school. Everyone will stare at us. What will the other kids think?” and on and on and on. By the time he was done raising objections I had made up my mind that it was an even better idea than I initially thought! We were going to walk to school.
I knew it was far, but how far could it really be? I mean, my son is 10 now, he can handle it! We decided to leave an hour early just to make sure that we had enough time. It ended up being 2.2 miles and taking us 45 minutes; by the time we arrived at school, we both felt great!
During that first week, I was amazed by how many people noticed and how many positive comments both my son and I received. There were also a few honks of approval (at least I hope that’s what they were). Then, by mid week, my son became our walk’s number one fan. We found time to talk about toys, school and friends — but mostly toys. The walking resulted in him arriving at school awake, thinking clearly, free of restless energy and ready to learn … who knew there would be so many advantages? I began to wonder why, as a society, we all do the same thing, even though it isn’t working for us. I think we do it without even thinking about it or realizing it. It is a habit — but like any habit, it can be broken.
I also wondered what I have been teaching my child about exercise and conservation by insisting that every place we go, he is toted around in a car. What about safety, you might ask? Exactly. That is why it is so difficult to go out walking, even as adults. We all know it is not right to live in fear. Instead, we should strive to be mindful of our surroundings (and feelings; thank you Yoda) and simply figure out the safest way to do it. I must admit that I have a hard time letting my son walk to a friend’s house, even with a buddy. But now that we are walking to school together, I can spend some quality one-on-one time with him and know that he is safe (another bonus!).
Now I think of all the other places I could walk to. Of course by the time I walk my son to school and then come back home again, my legs are telling me I’ve done my part. But at this, the end of our second week, I am now planning on walking to pick my son up from school as well, starting in another week or so — allowing just enough time for my shin splints to heal . I like the thought of being there when he gets out of school and having the opportunity to talk with him about his day. He can get all his restless energy out, but have more of the good energy for his homework and chores. We would even get home before his bus would have him home; so that is just one more advantage.
So now, I’m rethinking the grocery store concept. I might be ready for a bicycle with a large carry basket … now that’s “Red Pill” thinking!
– Out of the Blue