You can, however, slow it down a bit. As a parent you have a child to play with, that makes you move your body, even if you are a couch potato. Take that and also follow some of the ways this 70-plus man plays and you will get some ideas to help your children stay strong through play: Watch Stephen Jepson’s video, ‘Never Leave the Playground.’
As almost always, I have some contrary thoughts. The man is fantastic, make no mistake about that. But you know I don’t like the idea that because one person does something spectacular, we all should be able to do the same. So here are my contrary thoughts:
Jepson has a number of talents although not everyone will call them talents. He has a very good brain. It is politically incorrect to imply some people have more brain power than others. Not true and not helpful. Brain power is both nature and nurture, but all the nurture in the world cannot make someone with low brain power into a genius.
Jepson was also raised when the most common answer to the cry of “I’m bored” was met with a list of jobs he could do. Today that cry has too many parents and teachers trying to be entertainers.
He was also raised when kids were freer. So was I and although the world was just as scary then as it is now, I started roaming my small town on my own at around the age of ten. True, my dog Lady roamed with me, but I roamed lots. Did I run into dangerous situations? Yes. Did I survive them? Yes. Did they hurt? Yes. Do I have some bad memories? Yes. But in the long run, I was free to grow on my own and that is denied many kids today.
Jepson also seems to be the ADD-hyperactive type. His wife says he is on the go from the time he wakes until he goes to bed. I am also. For some it is a deficit and interferes with functioning. For me, although the distractibility is sometimes painful, the hyperactivity has means not needing the ten or twelve hours of sleep others need. There is also an advantage to distractibility: it means a curious mind, alert to what is happening, eager to investigate.
Finally, I think, (but cannot be sure) but he seems to have been born with what I call healthy body genes–I suspect he has been thin all his life. He also probably has what Howard Gardiner calls bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Gardner says that this intelligence includes a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses so they become like reflexes.
WHAT IS A PARENT TO DO?
I’ve talked about the fact that one of my kids thought he was destined to be the next Keith Hernandez, a star first basemen for the NYMets. He had absolutely no talent, but until the shifting thoughts of adolesence, he insisted on pursuing his dream despite our efforts to persuade him he had other talents. For a while, I was upset when he blamed us for “lying to me and pushing me to play little league.” Now I don’t. On the way to adulthood it is okay if your kid blames you or thinks you have lied to them. The trick is to be there to support them when reality starts slamming some childhood dreams in their face.
First tip: Let children pursue dreams. Actually, you can’t stop them.
Second tip: Make sure you aren’t pushing your dreams. Many parents try to live their failed dreams through their children. Understandable, but not healthy when extreme. Think Dance Moms or Toddlers and Tiaras.
Third tip: Always mention how hard stars have to work and how many other things they give up along the way.
Tip four: Also mention it take luck as well as talent and hard work to star even in Little League.
Tip five: Encourage many just for fun “Move Your Body” activities; those that can be pursued over a life time.
Tip six: Make the just for fun “Move Your Body” activities family fun events. Swimming was something we did as a family. Bike riding, camping and hiking were also family fun events. These are the things my kids still do for pleasure, and even in our 70′s we swim, bike ride and do a bit of hiking.
Be kind to me. Like this post, comment, or share. You will be helping me stay strong and maybe others as well. Click here for my free Ebook: The 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training Exercises. Move Your Body is one.