A few weeks ago I was at Parkrun and jogging around with a friend, when we caught up and ran behind a mother running with her young daughter, probably aged around 10.
The mother was screaming at he daughter, and the daughter crying back.
The mother was saying that the daughter had to run and had to get up the hill before she could stop. The daughter was crying that she couldn’t and it was too big a hill.
She was getting shouted at because “you wanted to come here not me”. And was repeatedly told “we won’t be coming back here if you don’t get to the top”.
Firstly, those methods are hardly motivating or inspirational, they would make an adult angry and dig their heels in, so why would a child put up with it?
It made me sad to hear things like that going on in a sport that is usually friendly and positive, and that a screaming match like that was going on between two people who should be helping each other and enjoying something like parkrun.
Have you ever noticed, that when you take your kids to the park, or when they play at school, that they do everything at 100 miles per hour, but then all of a sudden, at the click of a finger, they’re exhausted and need to stop for a rest. 5 seconds later, they can go again and off they sprint. Watch children playing tig, they’re a perfect example. They’ll sprint away being chased for 10 seconds but then the second when they hit that ‘wall’ where their muscles run out of energy, they make an excuse to stop, such as “this is den”, or “you can’t get me when I’m stood here”.
This is just nature; children’s endurance capabilities aren’t as well developed as adults are. They have short sprint capabilities but nearly none existent endurance abilities. Likewise, you’ll probably notice that adults are often the opposite; we can jog around for a few minutes, but we can’t find the energy to sprint anywhere!
Imagine the uproar if I’d have grabbed that mother by the ear and said “right, sprint with me to the top of the hill”. She wouldn’t enjoy it, she isn’t built to do it, yet she expected her daughter to do something that she isn’t equipped or built to do.
It was completely unfair, uneducated and unproductive.
If she had have ENCOURAGED the daughter to use her natural abilities and do some ‘sprints’ along the course, with some recovery rests, either walks or slow jogs, then she would have been NURTURING what is already there in her daughters’ abilities and also would have been HELPING her around the course with far less tears. That SUPPORT would have INSPIRED the daughter to come back week after week and try to better herself, but sadly, if that was me, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near Parkrun with my mother again for fear of being bullied.
What the mother probably wasn’t aware of the physiological reasons why her 10 year old daughter wasn’t able to keep up with somebody 30 years older than her, but it only takes a moment to step back and ask your self;
Am I SUPPORTING, HELPING, INSPIRING, NURTURING & ENCOURAGING?
Am I providing an opportunity to #SHINE