Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is your kid biking to school? Why not?

On the national PTA blog this week, a parent laments her child-chauffeur afternoons, looks forward to her children driving, and hopes they become safe drivers.  Here's what I wrote in response:
Hurrah for teaching safety, from an early age and with a strong refresher about the time our young begin learning to drive.  But too many parents, in my view, fail their sons or daughters by not setting the example of walking, taking a bike or using public transit.  How many moms and dads out there drive two or three miles to a gym several times a week?  And what do they do at the gym?  Get on a treadmill or stationary bike for a few miles of cardio workout! They could have had the workout for free! 

The park near my townhouse is busy every afternoon with soccer practice, and sometimes one SUV waits out front for every kid on the field.  These are neighborhood kids; too bad they didn't warm up for practice by jogging to the park! 

A school nearby has a very nice installation for bicycle parking, and rarely any bicycle using it.  But every morning there's a long queue of cars as parents deliver their sons and daughters to the schoolhouse door.  Many of these kids live so close that the county school bus won't pick them up.  If they're that close, why aren't they walking or biking to school?

Is it any wonder that so many American children are flabby and obese, subject to early diabetes or lackluster learning?  Mrs. Obama is right, you know.  Our kids, as a class, need to be a lot more active.  And it's our job to show them how. 

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