I was in the bank recently when a little boy came running in to stand in line. He politely asked the teller to exchange his ten dollar bill for a roll of quarters, and then went running out the door and up the street. He wasn’t more than nine years old, and had the biggest smile on his face as he ran by. He was also at least 30 pounds overweight.
I found myself thinking about this boy, as I watched him run clearly for the pure joy of running. He didn’t care what his pace was compared to others or how far he went. I wondered at what point in his young life the effort of moving would outweigh the enjoyment. I envisioned him 30 years down the road, when the idea of running down the street to get a roll of quarters for the laundry would translate into driving, because running would no longer be fun. It would be a chore, something advocated by doctors as “good for you” and something you “should” do. The sense of play would be replaced by a sense of duty, and with that guilt would set in each day working out was avoided because it was hard, it hurt, it was uncomfortable. I hope that instead this boy will continue to find the freeness that comes with being outside, with running and feeling the wind on his face. I hope he will continue to equate moving fast with play rather than work and that he becomes an inspiration to his friends and family. And as I contemplated this little boy’s future, I realized I should probably mind my own business and finish what I was doing.