When I enrolled Jake for kindergarten several years ago, the school secretary looked at my address and said, “He’s a walker!” If I’m remembering correctly, I think I said, “What’s a walker?” Back home growing up, none of us walked to school, so it was all news to me. It also sounded crazy, as there are .9 miles and 2 streets with double yellow lines between us and the school, meaning that as long as the children were still in elementary school, I would pretty much never feel comfortable with them walking all the way there themselves.
Walking to school has never been an every day of the week thing for us, but we’d do a morning or an afternoon a couple of times a week if the weather was nice. What I came to realize, though, was that those little treks to school were perfect for kid-initiated conversations about nature, school, friends—whatever.
Neither Jake nor Hayley attend our local elementary school anymore, so we don’t walk to school, but we do use that route for exercise sometimes. Jake jogs, I jog (believe it or not), and Hayley rides her scooter. Yesterday’s walk gave Jake the opportunity to discuss his lunch money bankruptcy issues, his progress report observations, his concerns over possible favoritism in the classroom, and his assessment that his teacher is just plain mean.
At one point, Hayley, who rides up on the sidewalk, asked Jake to jog down on the street. He harshly replied, “Why? I’m behind you” to which she said, “Oh, you’re not in my way. I just want to hear the conversation.”
That just about made me cry.
So today, I’m thankful for long walks with my children, who, with fresh air and a little exercise seem to open up about things they never would otherwise.
And if it’s not already too much, I am thankful for Scott Snyder and Dario Varga, who came to my rescue when my e-mail got glitchy to the point of unusability the other day. My email service is with my alma mater, Lehigh University, and I had no qualms about relinquishing control of my computer to two guys whom I’d never met, but who were sitting out in Bethlehem, PA throwing all they had at my little problem. You guys were great, and the email’s working great! Go Engineers!!