On Family Day, we find a moment to pause, breathe and reflect on just how important sharing our beliefs of living a healthy, active lifestyle with our children really is.
By: Andrea and Petja Taivassalo
Much like many families, every week in our household is a bit of a whirlwind. From finding ways to communicate, and getting everyone where they need to be, we are often only passing each other at the door in the morning and maybe for an hour (of exhaustion) in the evening, after kids are in bed. This is the key to survival. So how does running fit in? Some would say it’s, “all in the family”.
Back in 1997, little did we know, as we watched at the finish line of the NYC marathon, that we would one day be pounding the pavement with our own children cheering. They never had a chance! Spectating and racing has been a big part of our kids lives even before we (their Mom and Dad) took it up. Their Grandfather (Keijo Taivassalo) is “The Champ”.
You name the distance and he has held the Ontario or Canadian Masters Record at some point in the past decade. In 2005, as an infant, Brayden sat in a stroller watching Keijo run in The Around The Bay Road Race. Kesa was cheering at the age of 1 along the Ontario Masters Cross Country Championship course in 2008. They learned very young the importance of being active and have always strived to be, “just like Opa”.
Fast forward, and these days we hear, “Mom, I think I can run a 5K”, and “Can I run the 10K with you Dad”? Somehow, this love of running was just absorbed by our kids. As a result, we happily forego our own race goals to play the role of coach, running partner and cheerleader for the kids as they forge their own path in running.
We have often talked about how, for them, running, setting goals, training and competing are just normal parts of life. They don’t know any different. The down side, almost a funny one, is that they think that everyone can run a marathon. But at least they realize that winning one–as Opa does regularly–is pretty special, and as a family, we all continue taking our lives (and love of the sport) in stride.