I had a very interesting morning with my 10-year old son today. This is the boy about whom I once remarked that physical activity was nearly foreign to him. I guess I’ve been blind! He must be getting in some good physical activity at school, as he tells me he came in second for his gym class’ running of the mile. Who knew?!? He and I went for a jog this morning. That’s right…a jog.
(those who know me well will recognize the paused moment of incredulity at the very thought. Karla, the night person, the non-exercising person, and when exercising turning up her nose strongly at jogging went with her video-gaming, couch potato’ing son…in the morning, when she’s been struggling for nearly every morning of his six years of public education to roll his rump out of bed. What up?)
The ask…the NO
It gets better! We have a family policy of not tying household tasks to earning spending money. The little boy asked me if I’d pay him a dollar when I asked him if he’d like to go jogging with me. I gave my automatic, natural refusal-response and moved on. He’s so used to that response, I usually get little to no argument or talking back about it.
But as I walked away, I pulled the thought back out of my mind and began to turn it over in my imagination just a bit. I thought to myself, you’re always wanting our family to exercise more. He hasn’t asked an unreasonable price. WHY NOT provide some token incentive for both of us to…
- Wake up in the morning, and
- Actually exercise!.
Why Not! (the delight for the boy!)
He was quite surprised to say the least when I approached him during his bedtime routine to tell him I’d had a change of heart. He “drove a hard bargain,” reminding me of his fee…a dollar an hour as my “personal trainer.” I told him that would be fine, but I won’t likely last an hour, hon, as out of shape as I am! But I’ll still pay you a dollar. A dollar an hour or until I fall over, whichever comes first. (ha ha!!)
He looked forward to it. I was skeptical that he would actually get out of bed the next morning when we put the plan into real action, but sure enough, he actually did get out without further cajoling.
The Followup report:
And you know what? It wasn’t that bad from my physical exertion point of view. True, I returned vigorously and staunchly to my previously explained physical fitness philosophy of lower expectations (way lower!), but by golly it was okay! Yay! And even better still…
- I had the nicest conversation with the little boy, who is getting to the age when it’s not always easy or at least cool to talk with mom, particularly when his little sister who has me high on the girlishly wonderful mommy pedestal is around.
- Nice one-on-one time with the boy.
- Nice exercise for both of us. No arguments and pout fests about getting ready for school and the necessary first step of removing butt from bed.
- An opportunity for the boy to demonstrate his mastery and encouragement to someone weaker than himself.
- An opportunity to learn to be gracious in that demonstration.
- An accountability partner for my habit-engraining benefit, goaded on by the promise of greenbacks that keeps him in my face reminding me to get up and get out there.
Yeah, I think I got my dollar’s worth of personal trainer, with great parenting perks accompanying along the way.
Now just don’t go getting any wild ideas about earning money for clearing off the table…