Running on Ice

I am a commited runner. My physique doesn’t show it because I am also a commited ice-cream eater…. but I am a happy slave to a running program.  Each week I follow a structured program that tells me how many runs I need to accomplish for the week…and how many miles I need to log.  It helps me to stay aerobically fit…and following a program takes the guess work out  of it all.

The tricky part, though, is that I don’t belong to a gym.  I used to… but florescent lights and 10 tvs bolted to the wall, each offering their own version of the morning news… not my thing.  I prefer the moon for my light… and to catch up on the ‘news’ by running through the town and seeing for myself what is going on.

Now… this all works out great… until it snows and ices.

This morning, I ran 4 miles on the ice.

I stayed on the road as much as possible, dodging cars and praying that my red flashing light ( thanks, Jon) and headlamp ( thanks, Glenn) would signal my presence… but there were the unavoidable stretches of road and sidewalk where I had to run on the ice.

As I ran -slipped- along,  it struck me that running on ice is an apt metaphor for parenting.

There is that fine sheet of black ice which can be successfully traversed if we step very lightly.  Trying to gain any purchase on black ice is foolish.  One only slips and looks like the Roadrunner cartoon, legs spinning wildly out of control under a motionless body.  Instead, to run on black ice- thin, smooth, glassy ice- you must lift your legs high and just prance over it.  Dance over the ice.

Haven’t we had moments like this in parenting when we know that the best approach to a situation is to go lightly… to step gently… and not to come crashing down with parental authority?  I wonder if some of you can think of times when this ‘light touch’ worked best?  My husband seems to have it mastered.

There are other times, though… other icy spots that require a different step.  You know when the sidewalk gets all slushy and the snow is broken up… and then… it freezes?  The edges are jagged… the terrain is rough… and there are ruts in the path.  That kind of ice, friends, requires a different tread:  a firm, stomping crunch. A gait that says ” I mean business.”  If we dance too lightly over this ice, we risk rolling an ankle.  Not fun.

I can think of plenty of times when I have seen the layers of a problem in my childrens’ lives building up… getting all ‘slushy.’  And then, one day, it is frozen and the kid is stuck.  That’s when the parent with the big foot can come in and extract the child… get out of the frozen mess.  There are times, I believe, when some good parental authority is called for.  Taking the reins every once in a while, can be a good thing,

When do you dance?  When do you, as a parent, crunch into a  place of parental authority?

We can’t stay in bed.  Our parenting roles call us to get out there in all sorts of weather.  Running on the ice… it’s a skill.

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One Comment on “Running on Ice”


  1. Every day is different. And a lot of days end very different from how they started. Every few hours my strategy changes…but I think that’s the important part. Being quick to spot when to “dance” and when to “stomp.”
    PS…my husband has it mastered, too. Kind of frustrating, huh??


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