A Step Closer
by Marianne Coyne
Countless times we’ve all heard that walking is great exercise. It’s low impact, yet beneficial for the heart and lungs. It improves circulation, muscle tone, stamina, brain function, and posture. For those of us who consider the word “exercise” synonymous with “excruciating” walking definitely is a “can do”, because we can do it anytime, at any pace, and just about anywhere.
Walking gives us a chance to clear our minds, commune with nature, and pray. A wise, seasoned woman once gave me some wonderful advice. She told me that whenever I was confronted with a less than desirable situation, or felt depressed, I should give it over to God and go for a walk. “Don’t even verbalize the problem to Him,” she said, “Talking about it, even to God, will dredge up ill emotions. He already knows. Simply give it to Him and go for a walk.” I have used her suggestion many times since then, and the result has always been a changed outlook and calmer perspective. Walking is the multivitamin of exercise. It certainly does keep us healthy in body, mind, and soul.
But its benefits go beyond our own being. It can be a tool which gives us a perfect chance to offer our family relationships a healthy boost. Walking is an excellent opportunity to bond and communicate with our loved ones – especially our children, and particularly our adolescent children with whom communication becomes increasingly more difficult. Taking a walk together offers a calm and safe environment for you and your child to catch up on the latest goings-on in their lives, such as friends, school, and activities. It can be a great way to enjoy each others company away from the television, computer, telephone, and any other clatter that may be a distraction from quality “one-on-one” time.
Of course getting your older child to take a walk with you may take a bit of time and patience. When our children are little being with mommy is natural and fun. They couldn’t be happier in our presence, making them more than willing to participate in almost any activity mom suggests – even taking a walk. In fact, the younger they are, getting them out of the house is the easy part; the struggle may be getting them back in. But as our children grow into their teen years, doing things with mom is not as high on their “to-do” list; so if you’re waiting for them to make the first move, you may be waiting for a long time.
What’s the answer? Don’t wait. The next time you are going out for a walk, ask your child if he would like to come along. He may say “no thanks”, but don’t despair, simply try again the next time. Eventually he will say “yes”, and if he doesn’t, it won’t hurt to assert the situation by letting him know, in your own loving way, that his company would be appreciated. Patience is the key to unlocking a special moment that you and your child will be comfortable with.
Once your child accepts your invitation to walk, don’t worry about what to talk about. Unless there is something pressing you desire to discuss with her, don’t force a conversation. Let the Spirit guide you. Remember, this is about bonding and encouraging communication in a positive way. Bombarding her with a lot of questions may give the impression you’re prying more than anything else. If you’d like to say something, but don’t know where to start you can comment on the beautiful weather, ask her how her day is going, or simply take in the beauty of nature around you, and enjoy the moment – even if it is a quiet one. Don’t think, however, that in those quiet moments you’re not communicating to your child. You are. Walking side by side, you’re sending the message that you’re still there for her; still walking with her through life. Eventually, though, your child will say something, and that will open the door for the special communication you might be hoping for.
Alone or with a special person, walking can spark vitality and life within you. If you’re not already walking, I encourage you to try it. You will open yourself to a world of good – physically, mentally, and spiritually. So put on your walking shoes and take a step closer to yourself, to God, and to your family.
Note: The above article, “A Step Closer”, is written by Marianne Coyne. Copyrighted©2008. The above image is the oil painting, “Into the Light”, by Marianne Coyne.
Thank you for visiting Leisure Lane. If you’d like to read other related articles, click on “Life in the Spirit”. Until next time, may happy days abound!