This morning I went for a run. (Actually, I used to run. Now I trot and breathe really hard.) As I took off on this run, I set my running app for 2.62 miles. That may seem like a random distance, but it isn’t. It’s a goal that I’ve set for myself regularly- not to let exercise be my driving goal, as much as a way to maintain some health and enjoy some personal time.
2.62 is 1/10th of a marathon. These days you may often see cars with 26.2 or 13.1 stickers on their bumpers and trunks. Those signify that the driver has completed a half or full marathon. These mark noble goals, I’m sure. They signify that the person has achieved a high level of fitness–one that I have never reached. My only concern with this goal is that it is a sign of something that I think can begin to infect families and can become a barrier to good parenting.
Back when I was young, few people ran marathons. Now, judging the number of cars with stickers, and Facebook posts and Tweets from many of my connections, it has become a trendy activity to show this achievement and personal drive.
Drive is good in some ways, but it can get in the way of good parenting. When parents train for marathons, they run from 2 to 4 hours per day. On top of their running goals, many add other health goals, subsequently adding gym memberships that require more time and hundreds of dollars in fees.
If parent drive isn’t in health areas, many more parents are driven toward personal success. Their careers become more than ways to support their family, and can go beyond a normal source of fulfillment. Careers can become the parent’s identity. Most people have to put in overtime on occasions. When a career becomes an identity, these people will work 60 or more hours a week most of the time. Personal time is frequently interrupted to deal with work situations, or these people are lost in their work mentally, even when involved in non work activities.
Drive in itself isn’t a bad thing, but many families are lost in this drive when it becomes a way of life. Driven parents lose important opportunities to demonstrate love to their children. Driven parents can pass along a number one value of being driven. Other values like loving one another, caring for your community, faith, and moderation can be lost in a driven parent’s lifestyle.
Now that my kids are grown, I have time to dedicate to new personal activities. I guess I could make the time to prepare for a marathon, but I don’t need to. For now, I’m happy with the 2.62 concept. Exercising 30 minutes per day is enough.