(This was originally posted to mccartyseasons.com in September 2015)
Conversations people have with their kids are many, when they are younger. For example, I will ask how school was on a given day, how dancing went after a particular practice or were they good to their grandparents while I was at work! Yesterday morning I ventured by old Red Auerbach statue in Fanuel Hall and it got me thinking about one of these conversations I had with my 7 year old daughter.
To set the background, our family was on vacation up in the North Conway area last month and we ventured to the Settlers Green Outlets which are a major attraction for shippers from all parts of New England (Amazingly it was my first trip to these stores in over 20 years even though we vacation in that area often). As we moved from store to store, my 7 year old found running shoes from the Reebok outlet. Now as I have mentioned recently on Twitter, I am an Asic’s guy so Reeboks do not have much appeal to me – but that was not the case for my 7 year old!
She found sneakers that were for running. My first thought was why waste money on running sneakers when she does not run. So we decided that we would look at the other stores to see if there were other sneakers she liked and we left these size 12s on the shelf. As we left the store, she continued to talk about these sneakers and then mentioned that she would like to run like “you do daddy” and perhaps “run a race with you” sometime.
These statements got me thinking on how to get my 7 year old into running – my experience with distance running honestly is not great…I was a sprinter in high school and a soccer / hockey player. I dealt in short spurts and not many miles. When I took up running over the winter, I did it to lose weight (and have lost 35lbs so far btw). I have learned ways to improve my running since that time and betters ways to eat but never would have dreamed of teaching others how to run. So my daughters statements somewhat perplexed me. How do I help her run? Further, run with me?
So getting back to our shoe story…the rest of the visit, we looked for sneakers other than the reeboks but struck out so we headed back to Reebok to buy these size 12 ATS19 sneakers. We walked into the store, ventured to the back and went to the shelf – THEY WERE GONE! Given this was an outlet, such stories are probably numerous for many shoppers but my daughter was devastated! She wanted to honestly start running and saw these as a way to do so. So as parents to when they make a bad decision and it gets their kids all upset, we spent the next week looking for an alternative! We went back to these outlets several times over the next week but struck our each time – not only Reebok but also Adidas, Nike, New Balance and UA as well!
Finally we made one more stop the day before we were heading back to Massachusetts. Let’s the scene! My wife and I split up and I took the kids to the aforementioned store (my wife ventures to the other end down near New Balance after getting cupcakes). I struck out at each store and yet our daughter was holding in. Then I got the text! New Balance had got a new shipment of shoes and they had something our daughter might like. We ran across the parking lot and once trying out these sneakers, a big smile came over our 7 year old – as George Constanza’s father would say on on Seinfeld…”serenity now!”
So now I am left with the perplexing statements from above. She has the shoes and the willingness to run – at least I think she does. So now with the issue in front of me, I have to figure out a plan. So if I were talking to Red Auerbach, what would he say? How about this “Natural abilities are like natural plants…they need pruning by study.” In my case, If she likes to run so much, then I will run with her and we can discuss what mistakes I have made along the way. After all I am not building something complex here – I am just helping her improve on something that I hope she enjoys.
And when the day comes when she is running faster and further than me arrives, well then I will need pruning to catch up!