One of the joys of running for me is spending quality time with my daughter. Monkey is three now and joins me in the jogging stroller for two runs a week. Here’s how I make the most out of our running time together:
Pray – Before running I pray that God will keep us safe, help us to run our best, and open our senses to his presence.
Practice God Sightings – I feel closer to God when running; I’m hoping Monkey will someday know the same closeness.
During our runs, I point out God’s wonderful and beautiful creations like the blue sky, fluffy white clouds, flowing water, green grass, fine sand, heavy rocks, tiny pebbles, the variety of creatures like the birds, ducks, geese, groundhogs, squirrels, and turtles. Highlighting all of the different textures, smells, sounds, and sights around us, I say, “God made that.”
Later when I’m making dinner and overhear Monkey say, “God made water or God made macaroni and cheese;” My heart swells and I breathe a prayer of thanksgiving that my efforts made an impression.
Practice running – At various spots along my route, I park the stroller and encourage Monkey to get out and run around with me or on her own, although I don’t push; if she doesn’t want to run, I don’t force her.
There is a track along my route, but Monkey got bored running in circles. (I can’t blame her – five laps and I can’t take it anymore.) Now she likes to run around the pond occasionally chasing geese and pointing out all the neat stuff God made, trying to be like her mommy.
Practice teaching – While running I count how many squirrels we see, how many geese are on the water, and how many laps I do on the track. There are plenty of opportunities to teach counting, colors and shapes.
There are woods and a stream along the route, which provide the opportunity to teach Monkey about nature. This summer she’s learned, among other things, that spiders make webs to catch other bugs to eat; that squirrels eat acorns; that acorns grow on trees; that fish breathe in the water and that turtles can disappear inside their shells.
Pray – I end our runs together just as we began – in prayer. I thank Him for keeping us safe, for speaking to us through His creation, and for the ability to run. I also pray that our time together has nurtured and strengthened my daughter’s faith.
Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you…
Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:1a, 9b (NIV)
Previously posted @ The Caffeine Coquette on August 19, 2011