Years ago, back in the day, a long time ago, in a suburb far, far away … I won a bicycle. It was one of those grocery store – write your name down – giveaways, from Giant Foods. Well, I think I did. My parents told me I did. My brothers claim they did. But since mom loves me most, she told me I did. So I claim the win.
Countless hours spent up and down Nob Hill (our street in northern Virginia). Eventually I upgraded to a ten speed. Then freedom was in my grasp. Hundreds, thousands of miles with pavement under the tires. Many of those miles were at Prince William National Forest Park.
I haven’t been back there since my childhood. But it is amazing the memories we have and the ones we choose the keep. I remember the wind, the trees, the time working the pedals. I remember exhaustion and exhilaration at the same time. I remember my pal Johnny speeding ahead or falling behind. And I remember planning the day to ride back to Nob Hill before sunset. The fun we had together still brings me smiles.
Childhood is full of memories. It impacts our adulthood. I don’t do bike trips any more. But I advanced to road trips by car. Which is weird, for growing up, our family did one road trip … Disney World. Four teens in the back seat of an Ford LTD. My father got sick and the car engine caught on fire. Not fun. But starting 2014 … road trips have gotten into my blood. Add that to hiking, life is an adventure. And though I’ve done many solo, the experiences shared impact deeper.
We are in a unique time in our world. And I think it’s the kids that are being hit the hardest. School is in chaos. So many things are closed down. Social skills norms are changing as we watch. And there is such a loss when kids can’t be kids.
We need to be intentional about creating an environment that allows wind in the hair, that permits freedom for fun, and will strengthens relationship skills. I’ve seen good things happen. Let’s not let up.
Yes, we stay proactively safe and socially distant … but we don’t ignore living.
Parents, communities, churches need to do our part. I need to do my part. Will you?