I’d like to think that I am a good Dad. I try to be nice. I try to say yes as much as possible and raise my voice as little as possible. But when it comes to using the body I can get very teacherly and easily annoyed. It always amazes me that the unlimited patience that I have for yoga students goes right out the window when I am dealing with my own kids.
Developing our bodies begins at birth. The nature of our birth and how we are held and cared for as infants can have a profound effect on the quality of our adult posture. Whether we crawl or not and for how long is equally important in the development of a young body. And then comes exercise. Kids need to run and run and run. They need to be doing and playing and putting their new muscles to good use as much as possible.
So many kids have scooters and go scooting around. They are affordable and great fun—and unfortunately as these things go, can be very bad for a young ones body.
The first year that my kids were scooting I just let them be. The second year I started by asking my daughter to switch feet for scooting from the other side. This request was met with derision and refusal. And when I forced the issue it was clear that she could barely operate on the second side.
And then I started asking for little bits at a time. With ten yards left on a block I would ask them to switch to the weak side. And little by little they have gotten with the program. I think I have achieved my ends with a modicum of kindness and I truly believe that it will serve their bodies for a lifetime.
A balanced body is the goal of my practice. The search for this balance starts long before we are aware of it and if I can give my kids help before they are able to understand the value of such balance in small subtle ways, I will do my best to dole it out without making their lives too miserable.
Making your kids go scooting and skateboarding by initiating with both feet would be a gift that would never stop giving.