Three's A'loud

Out in the big bad world

I have been sharing quite a bit on social media about my current quest to live a little healthier. I have been running (except when I’m not) and cutting down on sugar (except when I eat chocolates while hiding from my kids) and just generally trying to be more conscious of what I put in my body (except when I drink wine).

The running especially has actually been really rewarding. Not really in terms of weight loss (too much chocolate and wine apparently) but in terms of mental wellness and general happiness it has really been great for me. It is one of the few times during my day that I can just focus on my own thoughts without a phone ringing or a TV blaring or a child yelling that her sister is breathing her air.

…that is until I invited my girls to cycle with me when I run. They are not really involved in any particular school sports this quarter and I wanted them to stay active. Also, the company is quite nice. Also, we look really cute together in our exercise outfits. Also, they nagged and nagged and nagged to join me and I just sometimes get so tired of saying “NO” a billion times a day, so I just say “YES” to random things and deal with the consequences.

In spite of the numerous are-we-there-yets I now have to deal with while trying to put one foot in front of the other, it has been a great opportunity to have some important conversations with my 7-year-old and 9-year old mini-me’s.

Here are the top three things I have been teaching them on our thrice-weekly 5km runs:

  1. Greet everybody with a smile but don’t talk to strangers

    We are living in strange times. We want our kids to be polite but we terrify them with tales of kids that are abducted when taking candy from strangers. Of course, our children’s safety is of paramount importance but we need to be careful not to raise little humans that mistrust everyone and sees the big bad wolf around every corner. That is no way to live. That is no way to build relationships in our beautiful rainbow nation. So I constantly preach to them about greeting everyone we pass with a smile and a little wave. In our world we are already severely limiting our human interaction by forever staring at our phones, let’s not make it even worse by teaching our kids to ignore or suspect all the amazing people that will cross their paths every day.

  2. Focus on your surroundings

    Another sad result of our constant use of the virtual world is that we barely even look up at what is going on around us anymore. On our little bike/run excursions I tell my girls to check for vehicles coming from the front, to listen for cars turning into our street from behind, to make sure there are no pedestrians sharing the sidewalk with us and to watch me running just ahead of them because I will also warn them of any dangers.

    I think it is vitally important to teach our kids to constantly be aware of possible risks and threats and cute guys crossing the street ahead of us.

    And when they are looking out for possible dangers around them they will inevitably start to notice the first blossoms on the trees, all the different types of birds in our neighbourhood and the colour of the sky at sunset.

  3. Be kind to each other

    Obviously sisters will fight. Sometimes they might even yell and bite and punch. But our little outings are supposed to be a fight-free zone. On these outings (and every other time we go out into the big bad world), I try to teach them to have each other’s back and look out for one another. Then there is no time for petty grudges. When you are outside you have to look out for dangers that your sibling might face:

    • “There is a crack in the pavement, be careful!”
    • “That car is driving too fast, get out of the road!”
    • “Mom has passed out because she is really unfit. Come, sister! I know the way home.”

There might be no more peace and quiet in my afternoon runs through the neighbourhood but I wouldn’t change that for the world.

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