What does being healthy mean? Being fit? Being active? Or does it mean something else?
My boys are very active and being in sports is just a way of life in my house. I recently retired from playing semi-pro football and they are involved in many sports. They play football, baseball, basketball, soccer and even wrestling. I make a big emphasis on them taking care of their body with what they eat, rest and hydration. I love how sports help them prepare them for life. But is that enough for them to be healthy? The short answer is No.
Life and being a healthy person is about being balanced. So as much as I drive them around and coach them, I also make sure they are doing well in school. More importantly, I also make sure they enjoy life. It can make for crazy schedules, but it is worth it. My Grandma used to tell me: “Everything in moderation” so I make sure I am passing down that lesson to them.
I know I am especially tough on my oldest. He lives in his own wavelength and I have to make sure he succeeds in the wavelength everyone else lives in. At the same time, I don’t’ want to squash that spark of creativity out of him. While growing up I was a little eccentric myself. I play football and basketball, I got the best grade in my school and loved to write. It took me a long time to figure out how to live in such a vortex and I am trying to guide him through his journey.
So yes I ride him hard. I make sure he gets his school work done, his sports, and all his responsibilities accomplished, before any privileges happen. I also push him to be a good big brother and person. Sometimes I get it right others I don’t. It is the curse of the oldest child, being one myself, that you are the guinea pig of your parents. So the poor guy gets to deal with me being an idiot and messing up as a parent some times.
So how do I balance all of that and give him balance? Well, his fall’s schedule is busy, to say the least. Playing premier U13 soccer, practices 3 days a week, playing 7th-grade football practicing 3 days a week. The weekends are games, games, and more games. He has moved up to junior high and has to be at school by 7:30am. He is staying on top of his school work and doing well. I am proud of the kid and all of his hard work, but life can’t be all about hard work and Dad riding you when you mess up.
As his Dad, I stand here exhausted just from watching him and know I need to help him stay healthy, not only physically but mentally and spiritually. That is where Blink 182 comes in. He has recently discovered the band after they released a new song and has dove into their old songs and loves them. I love them too and have since my teenage years. With their new song, a new tour is also happening. I looked at their tour dates trying to figure out how to take him to the concert even though he has his crazy schedule. The closest they come is St. Paul, Minnesota on a Thursday night. I was heartbroken at the date and wasn’t sure what I should do.
Then I thought of balance and helping him be a healthy and well-adjusted human being. So I decided to pull the trigger. I will have to take off with him right after school and drive to St. Paul. He will miss both football and soccer practice, but 1 practice each out of thousands of practices he will have in his life. I will have to drive there and back the same night, so I can get him to school the next day, while I walk around like a zombie. But you know what. It is going to be worth it. I am excited and I know when I finally reveal the surprise to him he will lose his mind.
Why? Because not only will it make him happy but it will make him balanced and healthy. He will know that in his long list of priorities he is allowed to make himself a priority as well. He will know he is a priority to me. And hell, we are pausing his insane schedule for one night of fun. The kind of night you never forget in your life and make all those busy, full of responsibilities days, worth it.
I want my sons to be physically healthy, but more importantly, I want them to be mentally and emotionally healthy. For them to understand that, I can’t just tell them, I have to show them, that yes they must work hard and be dedicated but also that they need to take the time to stop and enjoy their lives and have healthy, balanced souls.