Topics in Early Childhood Education

Monday, April 19, 2010

Finishing a 5 K

This past weekend I competed in a 5K race to celebrate my birthday. The best part of the entire experience is that this old man finished the race on two legs! I was not quite as fast as I may have been ten years ago, but I was pleased with my time. Isn't it funny that we judge a race by how fast we can get to the finish. The first one over the finish line wins the race. Because I am not an athletic competitor at this age, it is the triumph of working to be able to actually run the race that is important to me. The process that I have gone through during years of running have helped me in other aspects of life.
I often think that for some parents, teaching their child is like a race. They want their child to know everything and get to the finish line first. Perhaps the process of building the skills appropriately would benefit the child more in the long run. I remember working with parents occasionally who were so driven to push their young child that they had very unreal expectations. I also realized that in most cases it was the parents' ego that was the driving force, not having a well-adjusted child with appropriate skills.
Some would call my race last week a failure because I didn't cross the finish line first. However, I was a winner because I finished the race. I learned that I still have what it takes to run the race. Pretty good for an old man.



At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John. It's me...Jodi from some of your classes. I have lost your email and need to ask you some questions. Could you please email me? Thanks!

congrats on the race!!!

At 4:22 PM, Blogger The Harline Family said...

I really like the idea of comparing parenting and teaching skills to children as a race. Like you said, it isn't the finish line that counts but the process of how you get to the finish line. Parents need to remember that the training for the race or in other words teaching all the different skills that are needed are what is important. The child is going to go through life with or without the needed skills. We should focus on providing our children with everything they need rather than focusing on how they accomplish everything that they encounter.

Kacey Harline

At 8:41 PM, Blogger mferdig said...

I really loved the analogy between racing and parenting. When I was a young mom with three small children I was so focused on the finish line...graduation, college, marriage... People told me to enjoy the journey but I was in "the Zone". It is only now that I am tired and all too close to the first finish line...graduation for my oldest child, that I am noticing how much I missed of the journey. Every day that I am in the lab school that I am amazed at the process of growing and learning that takes place in small and miraculous ways. I am now slowing my pace to a walk thankful to have time left to enjoy with my children home. I am also enjoying every day that I get to work with the lab students. They show me what I missed and they make me truly love what I do. Thank you for helping me to see more clearly the wonder of getting to participate in teaching young children. Monica F. 5170

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What great insight into parenting. It makes me think about myself as a pre-service teacher and how I cannot set unrealistic expectations for my students. In addition, these expectations cannot be met through the same process as I would do it because each of my students are different. They have their own ways of thinking and expressing themselves. Teachers need to slow down and look at what works best for their students and use their strengths to build them into smart and engaged learners because if we force them too fast then that love and motivation will diminish and could be replaced with discomfort and unhappiness.
-Hannah M. (TL 4330)

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Back when I used to run cross-country in high school my dad told me that I was running with the "smartest" club (including academic clubs). Some study showed that distance runners are better at enduring school, and therefore, often do better because they simply do not give up. So, I totally agree with you! Teaching kids to just endure and work hard and give the best effort they can, is the best lesson any parent could teach!

Amy Andrus
TL 4330

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John,
Congrats on the successful run. Brett Bluth

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John
Brett Bluth just read your blog.

At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the race! I think this can be related to many things of a child's life. When parents push too hard on getting their child to do sports when the child has no interest. My husband and I talk about this often as we prepare for a future (far future) family. He always talks about how he can't wait to take the kids out on motorcycles or until they can play soccer and so on. My reply is always but if they don't there will be something in this world they love, and that's what we'll help them enjoy. Sometimes he's stuck on the idea of "I love it, so will they"
For me I have to remember as a future parent and a future teacher that every child is different, they each walk at their own pace and bang on their own drum.

Erika K. 5170

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice analogy, I also agree that life is not a race, nor about coming in first, but feeling good about yourself when setting a goal and completing it at your own pace.

Madison Forsyth from T.L Monday 10:45-1:45p.m class :)

At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this post. I have always wanted to run a 5k race but I have that feeling that if I am not going to win, I might as well not run. You have inspired me to actually try a race. I also like how you related it to parenting. I know that some parents try so hard to rush their children into certain things but I believe that if they slowed down with their children and let them develop as they should, they will finish their race in good time. And have happy, healthy children in the mean time.

Nicole Davidsen FCS 5170

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on finishing the race, what a great way to celebrate a birthday! I really enjoyed your analogy & find that with most things in life people don't enjoy the process but instead try to get to the end result the quickest. People tend to skip over the beauty & work that goes into the end result.

Jessica B. TL 1010

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that many parents push their child to "finish first". They believe that their child is more intelligent because they learned to walk, talk, or be potty trained before expected age. However, you can't push a child to know more before they are ready to learn it. To do so is to take the exploration and fun out of learning. Let your child develop skills and knowledge as they grow. Encourage them, but do not push them.

John, congrats on finishing the 5K. That in itself is awesome. I don't think I could finish a 1K!!

Lindsey B

At 3:36 PM, Blogger slcharger said...

As a fellow runner, you are looking like you are still in shape. I did not run this year for my birthday but everyone runs for different reasons. Some people run for themselves and others run for reasons entrusted on to them by coaches and colleagues.

I agree with your view on parents who push their kids too hard for the wrong reasons. The analogy you made with parents and their children is not that much different. Athletes tend to be more determined when motivated by an authoritative figure. A child does it because they like to please their parents until they adopt their views as their own.

Its either that or rebel. Athletes lose their focus to the opposite sex while kids lose it to almost anything else. Its all about balancing a child.

Victor V
TL 1010

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Congratulations on finishing the race!

I enjoy that you point out that it's not about finishing across the line first but the process of running and the process of the entire experience. Parents definitely need to remember this concept when it comes to their child's learning. As long as there is earnest effort and learning they too are winners even if they don't necessarily have the highest score or are in the highest reading group.

So again, congratulations on your win. I hope that someday I too can remember this concept when it comes time to parent my own children. Process not product.

Thanks for the semester,
Robyn Fenn
FCS 5170

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's great that you finished the race! I liked your comparison with parenting. It's not important that a child finishes first, but that the finish with the skills the need.
Christen F. FCS 5170

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Melissa Fenton-FCS 5170 said...

I would have to agree with the comments made about parents ego. I sometimes feel bad for the students that always have A's and feel that they need to be class president along with sports ect... I think of how important it is to remember that just because someone else or a test indicates you aren't "gifted" it does not account for many, many other qualities that can not be formally tested. I know that personally I grow more when I am not trying to beat someone else but rather improve myself.Congrats on the race!


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