Every day that our children awake, a world of sensory experiences awaits them! With bubbling zeal, their day’s journey takes them through countless bodily experiences. Bathing, dressing, exercising, eating, walking, running, surfing, sweating, sliding, jumping, hurting, yawning, giggling, crying, and more. When you think about your child’s body, there are dozens of verbs that are experienced in just a day. The human body is amazing! Help your children celebrate the action verbs that animate their body.
You may be asking, “Rod, what’s the point?” I’m glad you asked…
I wholeheartedly believe that great mentorship starts by inspiring students to see the true, good, and beautiful things that are available for them to experience. If your mentorship model is built mostly off of legalistic tones, then you fail to inspire with the good things. Legalistic-toned mentorship comes in many forms. For instance, here’s one rule that I was told as a boy: “Rod, you should not drink or chew, or date girls who do.” For you Californians, “drink” refers to alcohol and “chew” refers to tobacco. So, for guiding principles, I was to stay away from “bad” girls, but that limited view gave me no sense of what good qualities to seek in a girl when dating. More than that, the principle of “avoidance” does not inspire. If anything, legalistic avoidance feeds the idea that perhaps the “forbidden fruits” should be picked as soon as possible.
As such, you can vainly spend all your time telling your kids about what to NOT do with their bodies. The purpose of this blog today, however, is to perhaps suggest an alternative solution.
On one evening, my then-fourteen-year-old daughter spent an hour trying to describe to me how her body felt during a rowing practice with the Austin Rowing Club Team. It was an intense practice. Here are some of the words she used to characterize the setting: 30 degrees. Limited vision, post-sunset. Ice cold rain. Windy. She fell in the water. Water in her ears. Wet long hair. Bloody, blistered hands. Strained muscles. Goosebumps, covered with sweat. As we drove home, she spoke of the intense experience. My goal in this discussion was to get her to celebrate her complex and experiential body, and to remind her that God put it on the calendar for her that day. By doing so, I was spending far more time cheering for her to enjoy her body’s abilities each step of the way, and in ways that were true, good, and beautiful.
My challenge to you is to spend far more time chatting about all of the amazing things our bodies get to do at each juncture of life. In doing so, you will show them the joyful journey of life within our God-given body.