Last summer, I dreaded the prospect of living with 2 teenage high school girls. Between hormones, pimples, potential boy/girl drama and the stress of honors classes, the likelihood for bedlam in our home was huge. I especially worried how the transition might overwhelm Kai as she became a freshman—and how her stress and unhappiness would increase my stress and unhappiness.
To my surprise, it’s been awesome! Apart from the grace and goodness of Jesus, there’s one reason: cross-country.
Now I grew up in a family where PE was the only subject where I was allowed to get a C. When I got a C+ first quarter of sophomore year, Mama just laughed.
But Scott’s 82 year old mom still skis and goes to exercise class several times a week. His father exercised regularly until several months before his death at 91. Scott runs 6 times a week, and exercise has been one of the best ways he’s found to manage his stress, get quiet, and listen to God.
When gestational diabetes struck with my 3rd pregnancy, my endocrinologist said I needed to keep my weight down AND exercise 4-5/week lest I get Type 2 diabetes. I began exercising and haven’t stopped since. And I’ve gone from a somewhat sickly child/young adult to a middle-aged woman who almost never gets sick despite having several genetic diseases.
So I’m an exercise convert who’s trying to convert her kids. And boy has it been a battle. Apparently the innate slug-like Tuan characteristics have won out over the motivated MacLean genes because all 3 kids have resisted.
- We put them in soccer as 4 year olds. Our kids were the ones who ran in the opposite direction of the ball, citing that proximity to the ball risked getting kicked and shin guards were no suitable protection.
- We put them in softball/baseball. Our kids were the ones looking in the opposite direction as the balls sailed towards their heads.
- We put the girls in hockey. Kai lay on the ice sobbing, refusing to get up. It was so bad we didn’t even try with Ren.
The only sport that’s stuck is skiing—and that’s because it would be so unacceptable to be a non-skiing MacLean that they subconsciously knew they risk being disowned.
We’ve cajoled Kai to run for years. She has Scott’s tall lean runner’s physique. And we needed our Type A hyper-achievement oriented kid to get the stress relief.
“I hate running. I hate exercise.”
Then last spring, she decided to do spring track because her friends were doing it. And then she decided to do high school cross-country because her friends were doing it. And because she committed to cross-country, she started running in August to prepare.
By September, she went from a child whose only exercise was walking to school to a kid who ran 6 times a week. And she went from a child who could exhibit huge mood swings to one who’s been a delight to be around 92-97% of the time.
Her Type A achievement orientation switched from academics to running (somewhat of a relief) and she made Varsity as a freshman.
Regularly, she asks, “Am I disappointing you because I’m not doing that well in track?”
We look at her in disbelief. “Are you kidding?”
I could care less about athletic achievement.
Just keep running kid. Just keep running.