I like to run. I really enjoy it for a lot of reasons. I like to run long distances. In fact, a lot of times, the longer and more difficult a run is, the more I enjoy it. I enjoy rising up to the challenge and pushing myself beyond what I thought I was capable. I also enjoy what running does for me, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It helps me listen.
I'm the proud parent of a four-year-old. For any other parents out there, this is the age where they ask lots of questions, and test your patience.
On the one hand, it can be pretty funny and hard for my wife and I to contain our laughter at some of the things he Whines about and gets all upset. (In fact, just this morning he started into whining after he got his pajamas off, but before he got dressed: buck-naked and whining.) Usually, he's whining because something's not going his way.
Yesterday afternoon, I had gotten ready to go for a run, and he was going to go out and play in the backyard. He was told to do two things first: go to the bathroom, and get his jacket on. Well, the jacket sleeves wouldn't cooperate and were inside-out. So he started whining. Then I tried to "help" (read "do-it-for-him") and he whined even more because he wanted to do it himself. Well, my patience ran out because I was in a hurry to leave on my run. So I raised my voice (yelled), asking him to stop whining, and he started crying. So I stepped away, counted to 10, came back and actually helped him do it himself instead of doing it for him. Then, I left on my run.
My honest thoughts when I started my run were, "I don't know what to do! I wish he would just stop it! How do I get him to stop?" Well, it took 5.75 miles and lots of other meandering thoughts, but the last quarter mile of my 6-miler, as I turned and could see my house in the distance, the thought occurred to me again: "I don't know what to do." And the light-bulb went off! I thought: "That's it! You don't have to do anything! Just ignore him when he's like that. Show him that acting like that doesn't get the attention he wants. You don't know what to do because the answer is do nothing."
So I got home, and started getting ready for supper. Turns out my son didn't go outside after all, and wasn't even wearing his jacket (figures). It wasn't long before he was whining again (because he needed new pants and didn't want to go upstairs to his room to get them). And this time, I ignored him and let him know that's not how to get help or get what he wants.
So, running...It helps me listen. It helps me have patience. It helps me learn and grow. I just hope I can keep it up.