Playing is hard work

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I know I've ranted about this before, but it's something that really bothers me. In the last couple of weeks I've been out with the boys doing different activities and I'm shocked by the number of parents and grandparents who are unable to actually play with their kids and grandkids. And by "play", I mean "be active with", not sit on the couch and watch videos.

Yes, as a parent you're energy is sucked away by your hyperactive demon hellspawn, er, I mean little angels. I know that very well, but I'm still capable of keeping up with them. 

Last week I was out with Alek at a climbing gym. Normally when I take him climbing, I don't get to participate since I need to belay him, but this was a different gym where the activities were geared towards being comfortable climbing and not needing to be belayed - very kid-friendly stuff. So I followed him up the wall, through the secret passages, on the zip line. All kinds of stuff. It was fun (and very tiring), but I participated. All the other parents? Sitting on the sidelines looking at their iPhones and drinking coffee. I even had to spot some of the smaller kids because their parents didn't even want to walk behind while they were on the wall. 

Playing at the climbing gym was a ridiculous amount of work. I was sore that evening and into the next day. I can't imagine what it would have been like for someone not as well trained as me. And that's the problem. Our sedentary culture has made it totally acceptable to be a tired, weak adult staring at their phones while the kids play. Or worse, we keep simplifying our kids' play time to the point that it just becomes going out to eat and look at things - not do things. Think about the cultural implications of that! Those kids will grow up not even being active, so their kids will be even less active!

Every time I go to the park, I'm the only dad out there running and climbing on stuff (and Amy's the only mom doing pull-ups on the monkey bars). It makes me sad that no one has the strength to play. Play is hard work. But just because it's hard doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it.

This is why I really care about making folks stronger. I don't care how much you lift, I care that you lift weights so that you become stronger and you can go do things.

Michael Deskevich