My 10-year-old doesn’t like to run. But he’ll go with me occasionally for a shorter run, and he’ll ride his scooter or bike. There is a rails-to-trails project near our neighborhood, and last night, I convinced him to get back there with me for a couple of miles. We finished those pretty quickly. Just an out and back headed one direction. He hadn’t complained at this point, so I told him that I had something cool I wanted to show him running the other direction.
He seemed a little leery. In his mind something cool usually constitutes 1) something you can do on some handheld electronic device 2) new or large things with Legos. He had a pretty good inkling that whatever I was going to show him would most certainly not be cool. Not by his standards anyway. But part of our jobs as parents are to raise awareness of things that are cool or at least worth appreciating outside of what their minds will seek.
It also meant that we had to travel half a mile in the opposite direction. Which meant a full mile longer than originally planned in total. After asking how much farther once, his skepticism jumped up a notch, “You’re just trying to get me to go 3 miles instead of 2, aren’t you?” “Me? No! I think you’ll really like this, it’s a cool part of our city.” It is! But, he was also a little bit right. It didn’t hurt either of us to push one more mile beyond our goal, and we got to see something special.
There are a couple of others around town that are a little more out of our way. Just an urban spread of concrete where an old track used to run. Now look at it. Memphis needed some love spread around. Thankfully, we’re on the right track. And I got to show it to my little boy.
While he wasn’t overly impressed, I’ve learned that sometimes he just internalizes reactions, and it might be months before I hear about what he really thought about something. He seems to think it over and mash it around in his brain before he draws his conclusion. I think that slow judgement is a wise behavior (that he certainly did not learn from me).