Saturday, October 27, 2012

Walking with my younger son.

This is my younger son, who often walks with me barefooted because he thinks it's important to toughen the soles of your feet. He is a boy of interesting contrasts, both tough guy and sensitive soul. He came to me earlier this week and said his physics class was going on an engineering field trip and that a friend of his in the class could not afford to go and he wanted to pay his fee ($2) and lunch at Mellow Mushroom. I told him I'd pay for that and he said he wanted to do part of it with money he'd saved so suggested that if I covered lunch, he'd pay the friend's fee and the tip.  He asked me also about how much to tip and I told him to leave 20%, and commented that the wait staff work hard for that money. He told me the next day that he left a 50% tip because "we were a bunch of loud, obnoxious teenagers and she had to deal with us." I just loved that he took into account the difficulty of waiting on kids and tipped accordingly. His only disappointment was that other kids under-tipped. I could not have been more proud of him.
He often goes on walks with me, now that his brother is away, and talks about things going on in his life. Mostly, we walk by the lake.
The ground is littered with acorns right now, and the squirrels are busy collecting and burying them.
We also went out to a near-by state park Sunday to hike.
Apparently this tree proved irresistible.
It was a warm sunny day, but in the woods the light is filtered and it was pleasant.
We stopped to rest after a while, looking up at the sky. It was just one of those days where I was feeling thankful that my son wanted to spend time with me. I know that 15 is an age where your parents embarrass you just by being there.
I read in the NYT Well Blog that a study of people 70 and up showed that those "who engaged in the most physical exercise, including walking several times a week, had less shrinkage and damage in the brain’s white matter, which is considered the 'wiring' of the brain’s communication system. The relationship remained even after the researchers controlled for things like age, health status, social class and I.Q."
Correlation or causation, makes no difference to me - I plan to keep walking.

45 comments:

  1. Wise idea to keep walking!! I truly do believe that "simple" exercise is so beneficial in so many ways! I know my mom walked alot in her life because at times we didn't have a car and she was sharp as a tack until she passed at the age of 85 and didn't have a lot of illnesses.

    Your son sounds like a wonderful young man!! I was touched by his thoughtfulness with the tip in the restaurant and paying for a friend who otherwise might have not been able to participate and wanting to do it out of his own money rather than just take the need to you and have you cover it all. What a generous considerate kind person he is!!

    may your day be a good one!

    betty

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    1. I hope I am able to walk and be active (and sharp as a tack!) well into my 80's like that.

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  2. " His only disappointment was that other kids under-tipped. I could not have been more proud of him."

    Your son sounds like a very special young man. And yes, I bet you are proud of him!

    I clicked on your photos to enlarge them and they are so beautiful. I especially enjoyed the one looking up at the sky. I'm such a tree and sky person, so that one really touched me. Also, the view in the last photo is stunning!

    I'm a big time walker myself. In fact, that's one of the things I enjoy about living in a city. I rarely take public transportation because I would much rather walk. It's amazing by just walking (and walking briskly) how beneficial it is.

    Have a great Saturday, my friend!

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    1. Thank you! I am a tree and sky person as well. And I'd almost always rather walk. It always surprises me how many people take the elevator up to my office - it's on the second floor, and up a wide, carpeted stairway! It's actually faster to take the stairs than the elevator, but many people don't.

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  3. Beautiful pictures! I hope my girls want to hang out with me like your son does with you.

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    1. I'm sure they will - it's all a matter of maintaining a relationship and staying interested.

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  4. Good for you having such a thoughtful son; speaks well of your parenting, and the example you must have set for him.
    Nice pictures, wish it was still fall here. More snow last night.
    Indisputably, exercise is beneficial. It's become along with 'lifestyle', diet, etc, one of the most influential choices we can make for health. We've made such strides in health care, diet choices, and work safety that now we can live nearly twice as long as 150 years ago, if we make the right choices. We probably got more exercise as a population back then, but the other variables were out of our influence.

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    1. One of the most influential choices we can make and yet one I have trouble convincing so many people to do. And it's not as if I advise people to take up marathons or a strenuous weight lifting program - I just tell people to go for a walk. It's easy, it's free, and it makes you feel better.

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  5. that boy of yours! i love him from afar! the values he has learned from you are enough reason for forever pride. every time you write about him, his clean heart shines through.

    i am glad to have a dog again. that means i walk. i lost a couple of years walking with my bum knee but it and i are better and if i do nothing else, i know that walking is good for me. (i say this after three months in pilates in which i sustained three &&^%@ injuries) (I call them sports injuries) (hahaha)

    you are inland enough from the storm this week, yes? aaargh that we must bring in the patio furniture. that means easy living in the back yard is officially over until next spring. damn. i dislike winter as much as you

    love
    kj

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    1. Three injuries in Pilates? That doesn't seem fair. Even when I am in a situation where exercise is difficult or prohibit (post-surgery), I still get back to walking as soon as it is humanly possible.

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  6. What beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing them.
    I started hiking with my kids when they were really little and we all still love hiking. We're lucky to have some nice trails very close by...but of course we don't get those beautiful fall colors :)
    Also, I love big tippers! It just seems like the sign of a truly generous nature.

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    1. We started young, too. I think that makes a difference. And when I'm on a date and see the guy under-tipping, it ruins it for me.

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  7. I love your son's tipping policy, so sensitive and socially aware! She must have been dead chuffed at getting such a generous tip. And shame on the other kids for being so mean.

    That last pic looks like a very beautiful spot. Reminds me of Lough Erne here in Northern Ireland, which also has lots of little islands like that.

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    1. I don't know if she'd have noticed - I'll have to ask my son if he paid separately or if his tip got pooled with the the low tips. He said that he thought with his contribution, it averaged out to about 20%.

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  8. haha those trees are irresistable sometimes...you are def teaching them the right things....love taking my boys out for walks as well..

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    1. Somehow, it feels like a less pressured way to spend time with kids.

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  9. Since my son and I share a similarly close relationship, this makes my heart very happy. And I love his compassion, just love it.

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    1. Then you know what I mean. They are at the top of my gratitude list.

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  10. Your pictures are so beautiful and so is the heart of your son.
    We always tip 20%, I wish more people would. Have a nice weekend.

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    1. Thank you. The ONLY way I lower the tip is if the server is openly rude, because they'd never have a reason to be with me (I'm always polite in those situations).

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  11. I miss fall already. Your photos of the trees are wonderful. I have always loved teenagers. Their sense of what is fair and unfair can be so wonderfully hopeful for our future. I love a generous tipper. And the paying for another's fee is so heartwarming. Good job all around.

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    1. When the kids were little, before a field trip I'd send a note back to the teacher telling her/him I'd cover the kids in the class who couldn't pay to attend. I guess my son quietly absorbed that.

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  12. you have such a beautiful place to walk. I actually got tears in my eyes reading about your son's "gift of givig." and that you didn't hinder him in his generosity. I was a waitress so generous tipping is a trait I wanted to pass on to my kids. For just a few dollars more you can really bless someone's day.

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    1. And you know, that's the part people miss - I think they are just focused on saving money (which I understand) and not aware of the inequity of the pay situation in restaurants.

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  13. How sensitive and observant of your son, about both his friend and the waitress. I'm afraid my son wouldn't walk with me, but maybe I need to ask.

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    1. You could try what I sometimes do when my son is on the computer and reluctant to go - I drape myself over him and say, "Go for a walk with me, pleeeeeeeeeeease!" until he starts giggling and agrees. Works like a charm. :-)

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  14. What a heartening post, SAW, I loved how your son is so thoughtful and chooses to walk with you. It says so much. And the photos - need I say more.

    Just carry on. it's all working!

    XO
    WWW

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    1. It does seem to be, and for that I'm grateful.

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  15. I enjoy walking - last night on the Chicago PBS channel there was a report of a Chicagoan who has been running barefoot for years now. He started because he couldn't find the right shoes. He and others (doctors included) believe running barefoot reduces injury because you don't land on your heels first. Interesting idea.

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    1. Not all doctors agree, nor all exercise physiologists. The latest bit of research I read said that it wasn't the presence or absence of shoes that predicted injuries but whether people land on their heel or forefoot. I make a conscious effort not to land on my heels. The downside to the barefoot running craze is that unless you are running on a treadmill or perfectly cleared track, you risk injury from landing on little rocks or glass or whatever. And I've tried on the barefoot shoots - they don't fit me right.

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  16. I enjoyed this post - this window allowing us in and getting to know you and your son better. He seems to be the kind of son we would all hope for. Sensitive and a man's man. Kudos to you.

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    1. Thank you. I was blessed with two sons that are all that I could hope for. I am lucky.

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  17. I LOVE walking. I can walk for hours...nobody wants to walk with me but maybe when my 7-year-old gets to your son's age things will change?

    Love the pictures. Hope you are having a great weekend so far!

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    1. I can, too. I don't think my kids would put up with many hours, but they'll hang in for a couple.

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  18. that's an excellent young man you have raised there....in so many ways. you savor every step of those walks.

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    1. I do. I know they won't last, but I'm glad to have them now.

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  19. Absolutely. The best conversations I have with my family are when we are out walking. There's nothing else like it. Glad to hear your son still wants to hang out with you even though he's reached that magical age. He sounds like a pretty special person, and undoubtedly he learned his empathy from watching his mom role model it.

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    1. Maybe it's because you are moving and not just sitting and staring at each other? And thank you.

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  20. I'm amazed that the other kids tipped at all. Even a lot of adults are bad about it.

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    1. It's astounding how bad many people are about tipping. Probably time for a change in that system.

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  21. He sounds like a sweet kid....You must have done something right!
    Count me in for walking ---and yoga----and tai chi, for as long as I'm upright!

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    1. I did tai chi briefly and really enjoyed it.

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  22. As a former server in all sorts of restaurants for nearly 15 years, I think you have a lot to be proud of in your son. And that he thought so deeply about his friend who could not pay, well, it's my dream to raise kids like that.

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    1. I am very proud of him. I think it bodes well for his future.

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  23. walking barefooted caught my eye and i can't agree more with your son. i've started running barefooted again here in doha ..oh well, with a pair of thin 4mm pads and i get weird looks.
    but i feel liberated.

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