Friday, May 27, 2011

The Active Household vs Electronics

As a triathlete, I try to instill a natural love of athletics, fitness, and health in my kids. I've tried to create a home environment that supports these values (see pics below). Our home is not here for show, it is lived in and lived in HARD. The walls are scuffed with tire marks (my fault clumsily carrying the bike to the trainer), footprints (I have no idea), and dents (from wayward medicine ball tosses).

Despite the environment, the yard, the basketball hoop, the neighborhood trails, the creek, and organized athletic outlets for the kids, we still fight the draw of the electronics - currently Minecraft, YouTube, iPod games. On a few occasions I've given the kids nearly a whole rainy weekend to get their fill of the electronic game du jour, thinking they would eventually burn out and see the futility of it all.  You know what?  They DON'T!  I can't think of anything I would happily do for 10, 12 hours in a row. Scary stuff, it's like crack.

On the one hand, I'm guilty of enabling this by providing them with computer, iPods, etc.  On the other hand, these kids have technical skills that surpass that of most adults (e.g. they've installed Linux Ubuntu on a laptop, created servers, can create fully automated animated PowerPoint presentations, and can manage all our household electronics).

But I can't imagine there is anything electronic out there that can surpass the feeling and confidence you get from experiences like conquering your first open water swim, setting a 5K PR, or just nailing a workout. So I have the unpleasant task of setting limits, confiscating electronics, and kicking their butts outside. I work to give them opportunities to experience the joy of pushing physical limits....and not just electronic ones. It's a daily battle.

The Bosu does get a LOT of use.
Two can bounce on the Bosu!
Take hula hooping to a whole new level

Swings, ladder, and rings from IKEA in the basement, with ample padding and a carpet underneath.

Want to play Wii?  Better get moving!!  (This setup was Grant's idea!)

Nothing beats a little manual labor (pic from 2011, not 2008)