Carrying wood with kids

 

My brother in-law and I were having a nice time carrying recycled 1o foot tongue and groove 2×6 flooring up to my house. As usual I was thinking about how this was an opportunity for ecological fitness. Why not, as our backs were aching, our hearts pounding, sweat was dripping and we were having fun. I thought it would end at us. Two brothers working hard together to improve our family life. In this case a new-old floor to replace the fiberboard which had been there too long. But the kids added another dimension. Five kids under five were running around on the deck and playing, swinging on the apple tree and generally having a five under five type of time. So there we were having our heady conversation when two short people pokee their heads around the corner and ask what we are doing. “Carrying these beams” I told them” At that moment I realized an opportunity in line with the type of fitness I’m trying to describe. They asked to help, and I jumped on the opportunity. Although I did think “darn, this is going to slow things down a bit”. I told the two of them to follow me and we together we could move a ten foot long 2×8 tongue and groove fir floor board. They followed, down the slope and over the hand dug stairs. I picked up one end of the board, “you two get this end”. I looked up. I saw two backs and a cowlick disappearing back around the stack of lumber. “we don’t want to actually” There is another type of flexibility, one that promotes an interest, that emphasizes what is important, but that at the same time recognizes that everyone has their own pace. I had asked too much of them. I wanted them to be tougher than they were capable of being. The reality was that I didn’t need them to help, and perhaps they new this. I kept working and a half an hour latter one of them was back, this time with another friend, a girl who is my cousins daughter. They asked what we were doing and again, we told them as we were headed back down to the bridge to get more lumber. “Would you like to come and help I asked”. They nodded and began to bounce down the trail. We walked more slowly, two grown men now quieter, a bit less pontificating. At the bottom I picked out two nice pieces of firewood for each of them to carry. ” Bring this to Adeline’s grandma’s house OK” It was a slightly closer but still challenging destination. They made of, quit proud of helping I could see. “I’ll show you were to go” I heard the girl tell the little boy as they passed above us on the trail.

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