Ode to Joy
I had a fantastic day out on the bike today.
Once a month, I have a day off being Mummy and I go out with my cycle club, Hervelo.
As I said in my last post, I am suffering from Turbo fatigue and remembering that I love riding outdoors. Today just reinforced this.
I did realise the benefit of turbo training as I felt stronger on the bike than I have done in years. I felt like I could of ridden for miles. I felt like the hills had got easier.
This is probably also in no small part due to the hugely effective strength training provided by the cargo bike.
As we hit a steady slight downhill section with smooth tarmac and a lovely tailwind, I felt incredible.
I felt free.
I felt strong.
I felt alive.
I felt real joy.
It was the kind of joy that small children feel so often.
The kind of joy that made my son run around in circles with his hands above his head for an hour because the beach we had just arrived at was just so amazing.
The kind of joy that made he and his sister jump up and down on the spot on Christmas morning because Santa had really been.
The kind of joy that makes them both chase bubbles for hours around the garden.
The kind of joy that young children express with their whole bodies.
It was a beautiful feeling.
It occurred to me that I see this joy in my children several times a week inspired by the smallest of things.
How often do we feel this as adults?
Even more worryingly, how often do we see this in older children?
Where does this incredible feeling of joy go?
I have a theory. It is a theory based on no evidence. A theory which I only thought of as I rode home.
I think we view our children’s emotions as amusing. Sometimes we view them as frankly annoying – “seriously, we need to get shoes and coats on right now because we are going to be late. The lego model you made is marvelous and we will look at it when we get back”.
I don’t think I always value my children’s intense emotional lives. I don’t think I show my children that I value their emotions.
And then they start school. They start so young and the pressure to achieve starts to build.
Whether we mean to or not, we quite clearly demonstrate to our children that we value academic achievement. We value reading. We value writing. We value counting to ever higher numbers and then learning to use and manipulate those numbers. We do this with the best of intentions because we want our children to succeed.
Maybe we should start to value joy?