Monday, February 20, 2017

Body and Mind

February 20, 2017

ADHD seems to be the go-to diagnosis for any kid who has trouble sitting down and paying attention in class. And the go-to remedy too often is to medicate the kid when maybe all he needs is a half hour of recess. Physical movement used to be a normal part of a kid's day, whether it came in the form of chores or play. But the omnipresent ubiquitousness of electronic devices combined with bureaucratic academia's obsession with testing has served to imprison our kids in their own bodies. Our brains are not detached thinking machines. They are a part of our physiological being, and when our bodies are inactive, our brains follow.

I'm a grown adult. I've never been accused of being ADHD, or anything even close. But today, a few hours' worth of sitting, reading, preparing a Bible lesson, and sorting music had me getting pretty restless. I could physically feel my body itching for some exercise. And that, even having worked out this morning! Too much sitting had my body sending out signals that this was not good.

I am far more fortunate than most kids today. There was no such thing as smart phones, tablets, and such when I was growing up. My mother's remedy for restlessness was a command: "Get outside!" Outside was different, too. If we wanted to play ball, we didn't wait for a league to form; we gathered a bunch of guys together and picked up sides. There were no umps to settle close calls, so we had to learn negotiation. Kids today are conditioned to let others (usually adults) solve their problems--not a very good preparation for adulthood.

Our television broke when I was about eight. My folks never bothered to even check on the cause till I was nearly a teenager. When he finally decided to look at it, my dad discovered it was a fifty-cent fuse! At the time, I wasn't too happy about his parental neglect, but I've come to see it as a blessing. We had to make our own entertainment, and much of it was physical.

I am blessed also to live where I can strap on my cross-country skis and take laps around our property, skirting the creek for most of it. I don't have to pay for gym membership; outside my door is all the workout I need. Today, I took advantage of the warming trend. The snow still lies in our yard, and the trail is well-marked. Halfway through my routine, Linda joined me for a few laps. My body says, "Thank you," and my mind is clearer than it was, which will serve me well when I lead our men's Bible study later on. A mind that works in a body that works; I am a thankful man tonight!

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