This past weekend, I took my 6 year old daughter, Lily, to Washington, D.C. to race with our team in The Race to End Women's Cancer. This cause hits close to home because I lost one of the most important people in my life last January- my Aunt Barb. Barb was also one of Lily's favorite people. She not only was one of the best child development specialists in the world, but she was the kindest, funniest great aunt Lily could ask for. She always made time for kids and was 100% present when with them. She was able to make a huge impact on Lily, her brother and her cousin in the early, formative stages of their lives. That is why when I asked Lily if she wanted to participate, she jumped at the chance.
Not only was this an opportunity to teach Lily about doing something for a cause bigger than her, but she challenged herself and was able to feel the empowerment of pushing beyond what which she thought she was capable. Barb was passionate about the "need to create opportunities for kids to create and demonstrate their competence, " and this opportunity felt fitting. In this day and age when kids are more sedentary with electronics and with childhood obesity rates on the rise, physical activity has never been more important. Now, I did not push her to do anything uncomfortable or break any records; I merely showed her (gently) that she could do it. Do you ever notice the stark difference in your child running like crazy on the soccer field or playing a game in the backyard with their friends as opposed to complaining that their legs hurt from just walking around the block? The difference is found in making it fun, or in this case fun and meaningful. It was very cool to see other kids her age in the race, and to see avid runners supporting these kids sporadically running and darting in front of other groups of walkers/runners. (We'll work on her race etiquette in the future!)
I strongly believe that it is never too early to show our children, by example or through experience, how exercise and physical activity can boost a child's confidence, if done in a healthy and fun environment. And teaching them to give back and support important causes is a great way for all ages to get moving.
I doubt Lily would attempt this distance, running or walking, at home right now, but the encouragement she received from her gym teacher, her first grade teacher and her family and friends was invaluable and made her feel like a "big kid." And she can carry this memory along with her as something she did for her aunt, who gave so much more to her than she could ever imagine!
If you would like to donate to the Foundation For Women's Cancer, you can do so here. The race has almost reached it's fundraising goal!
"Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand." -Chinese proverb[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]