We are lucky enough to live in a great neighborhood and be able to walk to a great elementary school. We used to live very close, only 7 houses away from the school. Now we live a bit farther away. It is only half a mile, but it is half mile up a very big hill.
Every day we walk up the hill to school. My experiences as an educator and a mom tell me that physical activity helps students be more successful in school. As a teacher, I often took my students outside early in the morning for a short time because when they move around and get their blood pumping, their minds are more engaged and ready to learn.I see the walk up the hill as a way to give my girls a head start on the day. We enjoy the walk together, greeting neighbors and noticing how the trees and flowers are changing. At least that's how I view it on a positive day.
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Today our normal 10 minute walk took 30 minutes. The three day weekend made Monday morning all the more difficult. Tall One was also sick so I had to drive Ya-ya's carpool which put everything out of whack and made the morning more rushed than usual.
So instead of leaving at 7:45am, we left after 8. Ranger was upset that we had forgotten to allocate time over the weekend to make a birthday card for her teacher. Thank goodness form my green thumbed and (I hope) generous neighbors; I swiped a beautiful flower from their bush and gave it to Ranger as a gift for her teacher. She and Pixie started out on our journey while I went inside for the 100th (maybe 3rd?) time to prod Sparky along.
With Sparky finally outside and mobile I caught up with Ranger and Pixie. Pixie is a trooper but usually doesn't make it up the hill without being carried part of the way.
Sparky was lagging about 50 yards behind. I encouraged (yelled at) her to speed it up. She immediately began whining that her ankle hurt and she couldn't walk.
Really? You were walking fine 10 minutes ago. This is when the trek up the hill is torture. But I stay strong, I encourage (yell) and stay between the faster Ranger/Pixie group and Sparky. Sparky asks me to drive her to school every single day. She has perseverance like no other. Well, that's not true, my Dad says Sparky has amazing perseverance but that she has met her match in me. Apparently I have been honing my perseverance (stubbornness) from an early age. My answer to Sparky is, "No," each and every day. It isn't a fight, just a constant in our morning routine. Today as we inched past each driveway and climbed the hill, I was tempted.
We had a few tears on the way up the hill but with a apologies, jokes and some kisses and hugs we crested the physical and figurative hill of the morning. I will stick with the walking routine because in the end I know that it is good for all of us. Besides, I'm curious to see if Sparky will ask me to drive her every day for the rest of 4th and 5th grade. It only took her 4 years to remember to take her dish to the sink after meals, so we'll see.