This summer I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon. I’ve always been a runner but have never run much more than 6 miles before signing up for the marathon. My husband Rich and I are both training with Team World Vision.
This past weekend was my longest run—20 miles. I’ve found that on my long runs I have a lot of time to think (what else do you do for 3.5 hours?) and I decided to share some reflections as part of this week’s post. I truly believe that while we are teaching the standards that students need to know to be successful, parents and teachers are also helping them learn lessons to be successful beyond the school-house walls. Here are some thoughts:
Life doesn’t always go as expected.
For each run I set out clothing ahead of time, plan the course, and create a plan for success—but it doesn’t always mean that is how it will work. This week I missed the turn around point which meant I reached my 20 miles about a mile before the end of the course. New muscles decided to hurt. The piece of clothing that never rubbed before decides to rub now. It is hard to move beyond the disappointment of plans not working—but it is an important skill for life. One can decide to let it ruin the day, or meet the challenge with flexibility altering the course to make the best of the situation. Our kids need to see us model this flexible thinking and resilience to situations that are not ideal and many times out of our control. Learning this skill early in life will help shape a child’s thinking to expect the unexpected and be able to shift thinking.
When times are challenging or even when they are great, it’s much easier with a team around you.
I can’t imagine training for this marathon without my Team World Vision comrades. There were many challenging moments on this week’s 20-mile run, but we helped each other make it through. Encouraging words, silly antics, and sometimes just hearing the other folks foot strikes in front of me and behind me pushed me through some tough moments. Truly caring about the reason you are running doesn't hurt, either! This is also a great lesson to model for our students. Working together we can accomplish great things and when one person is struggling the team can encourage them on. We all need each other at some point on the journey—how great to surround yourself with a team of encouragers in which help is given and received. It is also important to be passionate about what you do.
When times get tough, it takes persistence, hard work, and strong-willed determination to make it through.
I ran cross-country in high school, and the challenges in a race typically involved holding a pace needed to set a personal record (and placing was always nice, too!). In this marathon training, the challenge is the duration of the run and the endurance needed to cover the miles. There are many times I’ve wanted to give up and walk (or sit!)—and have had to reach deep within to find the determination to do the hard thing and keep going. Our kids need to see us model this, too. Life is not always easy. Sometimes it looks like the easy choice is to give up and hopefully feel less pain. But that doesn’t make it the right choice. The greatest moments are often in the midst of struggle when we learn just how strong we and just how much we can overcome if we don’t give up.
Perhaps some of these thoughts could be great conversation starters around the dinner table as you take time to share your life reflections with your kids. Hearing your stories help them to grow into young adults ready to face the challenges ahead. Never underestimate the power of your story—and how that story can shape the way they view the world!