I have often told my boys that my single purpose in this life is to raise three functional adults to release into the wild. This invites the question, “How do you define “functional adults.””
The ancient Greeks spoke of, “A strong mind in a strong body,” and while I have no argument with this, I would add “a strong spirit” to it. I suppose Aristotle didn’t bother to mention it because it was simply assumed, but in today’s medicated and sissified age, I don’t think we can assume it.
The idea of a strong mind isn’t really all that hard. I wrote this on how I’m taking this summertime to teach them cursive, while reinforcing their French lessons, and at the same time introduce them to some of the great authors of the English lexicon. The problem with having three bright sons isn’t whether I can teach them, it’s to make sure they’re spending time developing their brains rather than simply playing video games all day long.
Their tendency to sit in front of a screen came to the forefront today. I warned them at the beginning of the summer we’d be exercising together, and today we went for a short jog. It takes a lot to surprise me, but I was past surprised, all the way to shocked, at how poorly my older two fared. Less than 1/2 a km into our run, they were sucking wind.
Kid one did track and field this year, kid two rides his bike to school every day. Yet, here we are, three weeks into summer and they can’t handle a 1.25 km run. For teenagers, this is bad, and shows me I’ve been falling down on the job.
It is here that spirit enters.
In my youth, there was no quit; quitters got ridiculed into trying harder. It was tough on the sensitive kids (i.e. me) but it toughened us, it developed our spirits. We learned to be strong in body, and resilient in mind.
Fall down, get up. Try again. Keep going.
I’ve tried to impart these lessons to my boys, to varying degrees of success.
I won’t say today’s run was a disaster, but I also won’t call it a triumph. What it was, was a learning experience, for the boys, and for me.
I guess we’ll be running together a lot more than I’d originally planned. Or they’d hoped.