So what did I learn besides it’s a long drive from Florida to Ohio?
I was often challenged on the road to figure out how we could accomplish all we wanted to while keeping some semblance of normalcy to Phoenix’s sleep schedule, especially in light of his demanding race obligations. Aware that Phoenix, like many kids, often does poorly when his sleep routine is interrupted, I pondered several times how to prioritize the short-term joy of his evening fun time with the likely lethargy and grumpiness I would face the next morning if I extended Phoenix’s bed curfew. Truth be told, I compromised once on his bedtime, when, on the night following his race, he found himself playing water games with several older girls he befriended in the hotel pool. I reasoned the unique “vacation” experience would have some developmental value and it seemed a just reward for the recent effort he had put into training and competing.
Traveling and making trips to out-of-town rest stops, hotels, supermarkets, drug stores, and other public places gave Phoenix many chances to venture beyond his usual social circles. In doing so, he was quick to notice the ever expanding waistlines and risk-taking behavior (e.g., smoking, riding motorcycles without a helmet) of many Americans. His sensitivity to others’ disregard for fitness and their penchant for risky behaviors reassures me that he is committed to adopting a healthy lifestyle.
On the flip side, our trip surrounded Phoenix with a sea of 850 extremely fit, young athletes. Seeing so many dedicated athletes helped reinforce Phoenix’s conviction to be healthy and fit. He, too, saw more clearly that he was not one-of-a-kind.
August 9, 2014