Really? You can’t make your kid walk half a block?America’s love affair with the automobile is partially to blame for our ever-expanding waistlines. I am living proof of this.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
America’s love affair with the automobile is partially to blame for our ever-expanding waistlines.
I am living proof of this.
When I lived for seven years in a large city where I did not own a car and often walked several blocks (and sometimes even farther, gasp!) to catch a bus or train to work, I did not struggle with my weight.
Within weeks of returning to small-town American life and my 1963 Mercury Comet, I started putting on the pounds. There were drive-up banks, drive-through restaurants: heck, I even found a drive-through liquor store in one Florida town.
Accustomed to exercise as a part of life rather than something you had to make time for, I struggled.
Which brings me to the street in front of Washington Elementary School, specifically in the 15 or 20 minutes before the final bell rings.
On Wednesday morning, as I turned the corner to drop my kids off, there was a solid line of cars in the driving lane stretching the length of the block, while almost the entire parking lane adjacent to the school sidewalk was open. Except, of course, for the fire lane and handicapped spots, the precise spots all those parents were waiting to slide into so their young ones could get out right in front of the door to the school.
It wasn’t raining.
There were no frightening strangers loitering about.
There was absolutely no reason those loving parents couldn’t pull over and let their kids out a half a block away from the school entrance.
Yes, I know I should probably put my money where my mouth is and make my kids walk the seven or eight blocks to and from school every day, but I don’t. In part because there are almost no sidewalks between my house and the school, also because it’s convenient for me to drop them off.
I’m not advocating for a return to the days when kids walked miles in snow and sleet down country roads just to get an education.
I am in favor of raising children who not only exercise at organized sports events and practices, but who also aren’t afraid to walk a block or two to a friend’s house, ride a bike to the pool or shovel the sidewalk when it’s covered with snow.
And, even though the Future Problem Solvers at Washington have plotted various ways to eliminate the congestion in front of the school each morning and afternoon, all their bright ideas will be for naught unless parents buy
Good habits start with us, their parents.