At 7:50 am, I hug my son and daughter and bid them farewell. I watch them walk down the street and head towards our school. I close the door, breathe deep, and smile.
Yes, my kids walk to ACS every day.
Saving Time or Sanity?
In actuality, if I drove them, it would take me twice as long. I would have to endure school traffic from three schools before even stepping foot in the ACS parking lot. No rushing out, trying to get ready, loading into the car, and beating the rush.
“I love you! Good-bye kids!” Then I just close the door.
Later on in the afternoon, I don’t need to jockey for a good spot in the parking lot by 2 pm. My kids saunter in the front door sometime around 3 pm.
Races and Discoveries
Instead of getting stories from what happened at school, I hear stories of what happened during the 15-minute walk home (made faster by taking the trail). At certain times of year, I hear about the number of the salmon they see swimming up the stream. I hear about the creek water rising when the rains come and how high the water gets to the bridge or the trail. They describe the falling leaves in autumn and when the trees start to bud in the spring.
Other times, it’s a proclamation of who was racing too fast along the trail while the other one couldn’t catch up. Or they’ll tell me who they met up with on the trail to school.
Or maybe they’ll find something and bring it home to show me. The one time Lane walked into the house after school carrying a garter snake, I won’t soon forget and truly hope never happens again. He very quickly learned never to do that again!
PLEASE? Just this once?
But don’t think they don’t complain about walking to school. They watch the cars rush past our house and they ask almost weekly, especially in winter, if I can drive them. I hear different excuses: it’s not THAT far away, it IS too far away, I’m late, my legs are tired, and my bag is too heavy, blah blah blah. Yeah, it’s not going to work, kids. You are walking, whether you like it or not.
I’m thankful that my children have this “extra-curricular” experience before and after school every day. They appreciate God’s creation, get fresh air and a little bit of exercise before and after school. This is their way of decompressing after a tough day by thinking and spending time outside before going off to after school activities or handling homework tasks. If we ever live somewhere where they aren’t able to walk to school, trust me…they would be sent outside to get their fair share of fresh air!
Hopefully when my two kids finish high school and look back years from now, they’ll be thankful for all the kilometres they walked on that trail, twice a day, for ten months of the year, for many years and encourage their own kids to walk to school too.