Not to long ago, I found myself watching with barely contained joy as my daughter, Abbey, found her way slowly up the lumpy surface of a novice pitch at our local rock gym.
Aside from a logistical assist, this was a victory of her own making. I claim credit only for the applause.
|Everyone has to find their own way with fitness, don't try to convince people that your way is the only way.|
|When a friend or child expresses an interest in an activity, ask about their interest and find ways to support it.|
|Every activity involves risk of injury. Explore those risks beforehand to take proper precautions.|
|Good instruction is the ounce of prevention for a pound of cure. Take classes to get good.|
For we who have lived years with fitness, the most difficult task can be the least physical.
When we know the benefits, we want to share the news. We want to advise and consult and exhort.
We want the unwashed masses to fall backward into a baptism of sweat and breathlessness, day-after soreness and all the unfathomable joy of sleeping tired and waking ready to charge into a new day.
We want, in other words, what we can't have. For all our missionary zeal, we are as welcome to the unconverted as a Bible-bearing bicyclist is to the godless on Saturday morning.
It's hard, but we have to just shut up. I suspect Abbey has wished I would since I came into her and her mother's lives two years ago. And yet, we can't stay quiet. If we are not ourselves newly converted and overdosed on endorphins, we see someone who should be.
"Come on over," we seem to say, "and you, too, can be an obnoxious pain in the ass."
Our fickle friends flee in terror. Our true friends tolerate us, developing the unbalanced physique of people who roll only their eyes.
In time, we mellow. We learn to lead, if we lead at all, by example. We learn to support, gently and quietly, the desire and drive that must always arise from within.
But we are always vulnerable to relapse. We see a need and can barely contain our desire to gain a convert. And as always, our desire can turn to big frustration.
Watch this video of psychologist Dan Johnston on sticking to your goals despite setbacks or failure.
In the prime of her life, Abbey seemed destined, like her demographic norm, to years of passive entertainments.
She is a bright young woman of too few exertions and too many comforts. A reluctant runner, fearful swimmer, disinterested owner of roller blades and skis, she has shown enthusiasm more for the gear of an active life than for the life itself.
And then, after wondering long and often how I might light a fire under her, she finds her own match.
A while back, she expressed interest in rock climbing. Hmm? Not from me, did she get this. I have tried this game, and found it wanting sanity and solid footing. To test Abbey's resolve, I asked a friend who knew the ropes to show her how.
From the get-go, she was enthralled. Got the knots. Got a grip. Got on up that wall like a natural; long arms and legs working the angles, finding a path, feeling the burn of muscles, lost in the work of a mind at play.
And safely below stood I, the beaming fool.
As we all must do in seeking a fitness fit, she had thrown herself once again at the wall-and this time, she stuck.