Month: March 2016

The challenges of being super-dad!

This post is a little bit about how life has changed (yawn) since I was a kid, a bit about television and (yawn) how hard it is to keep my kids away from it, and mostly about me dumping what’s going on in my life right now.

Let’s dive in.

A while ago, I decided not to forbit my kids to watch TV. The reasons are legion: it’s a great sedative when mom or dad need a break, it exposes them to more English, I like some TV and want to share it with them.

But, I do turn the TV off, and I do compete with it from time to time.

The thiings is, my kids — like me — are basically couch potatoes. And — like me — they feel better when they’re outside. We just don’t always think to go outside, and, I’ve found that I often go outside wrong.

I discovered the outdoors via hiking and jogging. (Well, I knew about the outdoors from having been sent there — mostly as a punishment — by my parents. I’m talking about discovering that there’s something therapeutic about being outside.). I’m carrying a bit of baggage from my initial experiences with the outdoors: I have an obsession with measuring the time I spend outside in kilomters, in steps.

I drag the kids out and I make them walk. They want to stop to poke at a bug on the ground and, after a minute or two, I say it’s time to keep going.

I do it wrong.

My kids, like me when I was a kid, are happiest to just go into the woods and start poking around, dragging sticks from one spot to another, trying to build a fort. Or, collecting leaves or bugs. Realizing this, I remembered the hours we spent outside as kids just goofing off and getting dirty.

The things is, my parents could send me out unsupervised. Or, only supervised by the rest of the group. I don’t know if I can send my kids out without supervision, but I know that i won’t. (If something does happen, I don’t think I’d be able to forgive myself.)

So, I have to head out, with my kids, and find a way to distract myself while they entertain themselves. And, the thing is, it’s usually me who wants to head back home. It irks me that I’ve found something that they genuinely enjoy doing more than television, and which I think they should do as much as possible, and the only problem is me.

For the rest of the week, we’re all off (Germans have so much vacation! And even our daycare closes for Easter break) and it’s on me to keep being super-dad. But, it turns out that that means it’s on me to find a way to distract myself in the woods — where, really, I enjoy being.

 

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Willpower and Habit

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about willpower and habit lately. Partly, I suppose, this has been prompted by my reflecting on habit with my students, but it’s more than that.

I wonder if I have less willpower than other people, and maybe have simply been ‘programmed’ with decent habits by my parents. I know I have less willpower than I’d like to have.

One thing that bothers me is that I don’t know that I’ve ever really exercised to the point of muscle failure. At least, I can’t recall it. I feel like I exercise to the point of will failure.

And that’s something to work on.

But, recently, I’ve tried to make simple changes to my life: stop snacking in the evening, try fasting, stick to an exercise routine.

You know where this is going: I do great for a while, but then I cave. What bothers me, is that I know I’m going to regret giving in to whatever urge-of-the-moment I have when I do it, and I still do it.

I don’t regret changing my mind, like I did yesterday when I was planning on fasting until dinner and someone I genuinely like asked me to have a piece of his birthday cake. That’s a simple question of priorities: he was more important to me than the fast. But, I do regret the times that I know I’ll be upset if I grab a snack, and I do it anyway.

Maybe I’m kidding myself, but I’d like to develop to a point where I decide for myself who I am, rather than feeling  like a bag of chemicals that basically does whatever the urge-of-the-moment is.

Living with the Seasons

It starts, I think, with the idea of eating seasonally. You know, tomatoes and strawberries only in the summer, kale in the late autumn. The reasoning seems sound: we evolved eating the foods that were available at the moment.

That idea really appeals to me. And, as I experiment with it — eating lots of root vegetables and grains this time of year — I’d like to extend the idea.

Here’s the problem: I live in a city. It’s hard to feel the seasons here. I’ve thought about things like growing my beard out in the winter, or changing the color of the table cloth (which would require me to start using a table cloth).

I like the idea of living in tune with the seasons, but I don’t know how to do it in the city.

That’s just what I’m thinking about at the moment.