As an 80s baby this was my weekend morning routine:
Mind you my week had me at school and the skating rink Mon-Friday, and if I got a weekend off where I had no tournaments, then this was my weekend:
Wake up really early and watch cartoons till 10am as that's when the humane society show came on and I begged my mom to sponsor a dog while Sarah McClaughlin solidfied your eventual cry fest, then after that was church shows and fishing. You think I wanted to watch that? Nope, so I either played some video games, and after I smashed my remote control down cause Bowzer was a dick, I then maybe watched one of the movies Ive watch 26 times before.. So if I lasted this long then I am full of energy, thats when my child hood day started:
Saturday and Sunday Ritual:
-Grab my bike
-Knock on every childhood friends house I knew
-Organize game of man hunt
-Climb every tree in neighbourhood
-Find buildings with those ladders on side of building that had the "climber stopper" gate on it (they thought this would stop me) and proceed to climb to top with my candy score from chore money and just hang out.
-Go home and eat, maybe try and beat bowzer again (this was chill time)
-Back out for another round of tag or man hunt (whats man hunt? Basically fort knight but in real life) this game was great in both day and evening time.
As you can see I did not have youtube, netflix, road blocks, fort knight, or other systems that are designed to keep you engaged for long periods of time. I had a window that I hd to utilize to the best of my ability, my parents did not force me out, have to limit my technology, they just let me go out, granted I struggled in certain areas, but what I could do is rally my friends and motivate them to play a game. Right now my son has zero interests in going outside and playing, despite me asking him to go out, its like pulling teeth and so what ends up happening is I go out anyways and he just sits and stairs at the wall for a few hrs till we eventually cave (yes we do cave, and yes there has been days where the kid played video games all freaking day).
My boy is a smart, strong and fast kid but he lacks drive, he lacks initiative and forward thinking, and he is not ALONE. I see thousands of kids a year and majority of them suffer from the same issues. When we have our camps and we have free time, its the kids time to be creative, ask friends to play a game, do a challenge, just something where an adult didn't have to tell them to do something.. You know, be a kid. But we hear constantly "What should I do?" or "Im bored".. You are at a 6,000sqf warehouse of awesome and you don't know what to do? That's a problem, but a problem we hope will fix a bigger problem.
Our kids have received a failing grade in being kids, and we aim to stop that, what we have decided in our split house hold (at least in our side) is that when its a gorgeous day out we will have a black out time of electronics between 11-6pm, when its rainy and forced in, we will ply a few games together and try and spend as much time as possible with one another but also allow some free time. I feel this is something that we have to force, we have to force the kids outside, our grandparents did it, kicked us out and refused to play with us as they were busy doing house chores (not refuse, when I sked to help make grandmas favourite cookies), and those weekends away at grandmas were always the best as I was allowed to be a kid. Am I saying those weekends built OCRA? No, but it provided me the insight to speak to you today about something I feel is very important. We have made some serious advancements when it comes to technology and I am forever grateful for that, but everything in moderation. I see families coming to OCRA every weekend, we are part of their routine, and with my long term goal to be like COsmic Adventure, or Laser Quest (activities I did when I was kid) I feel this is why I am here today. This is my purpose.
OCRA- Kids, they are good for business, but also great for being an awesome human being.
Since OCRA has shifted its focus towards kids (that was not intentional, it actually happened very organically without any promotion).
Let me tell you, that when OCRA become a kid facility it was the best thing that could have ever happened.
Professionally it was a step in the right direction, personally? It was the growth I needed as a human being/step dad. I have learned that compassion and humility is something that we should all posses but for some has to be taught via life lessons. Case in point, I will admit that I used to use sarcasm as a tool to express myself to my friends, not the healthiest approach but its what made me, well me. But I have learned that this is not the way to communicate with a child, especially children on the spectrum. As there frontal lobe is not fully developed so they take things very literal. Think of Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy, you cannot be sarcastic with him. Same with kids. They will take what you say literal and then do the exact opposite of what you were trying to teach them. I am still very much on the learning side of this and I am slowly trying to change my habits so that my son and my Obstacle Fit kids can all learn from my positive example. Sometimes I will be passive aggressive AF, and Sarcastic as can be, but habits cannot be changed, and as I sit here writing this, it actually helps me put things into focus. I am learning to communicate how I am feeling as appose to acting out, but I will admit I do live my life on the 80/20 principle.. OK maybe 70/30 but I am working on it.
My course, my rules.
Its hard being a parent, it is probably thee most difficult job on the planet and you really don’t get the credit you truly deserve till those little monkeys are full grown and have kids of their own. But it’s a job that can be shared, because we know that it takes a village to raise a child. You are the Co-Capitan’s of your child’s ship. So when you bring your child into my facility and communicate with me what you have found that works best with your child, that is ideal information that can be a compliment to what we do on the course. BUT, it is my course. We pride ourselves as a program that does not favour any 1 particular person, we try to leave the competitiveness to when we have a tournament. But during class we want the kids to have fun, and be active, while also learning a skill. We strive to put the fun back in functional fitness. By singling out someone for either good or bad can sometimes work but usually has a backwards affect, as it applies pressure, and yes in life we do have to face pressure, and pressure makes diamonds, but when we are doing something we love, pressure is not something that comes to mind. So when a child is not performing his or her best, it is up to us as instructors to determine why. As we start to see a rising attendance of kids with very specific needs we have to adjust our coaching methods accordingly. But generally speaking we will never embarrass a child in front of his or her peers, we would kindly ask them to step aside and if they need to, be asked to sit out. That’s when parents can intervene and do what they do, and Captain the ship. So Parents, let us do our job so you can do yours 😊 we are all in it together.
A lot of times we will not be communicated with by a parent about their child’s very unique needs, and I have learned that we cant simply ask a parent “What’s your child’s deal, or what is your child’s diagnosis” as this is very off setting and for some parents can take offense. I have learned to ask a parent “What’s your child’s story? What makes your child so unique and awesome?” This way a parent knows that I care, and I want to know more about them. Because I do, I honestly do. Every child that comes into my facility I want to try and get to know, I want to make a positive impact on that child’s life, I want to make a difference. As that’s why OCRA was built, not for capitalism, not to make boat loads of money, but to service a child and his or her family, I want to take all that is positive about a child (Being present, engaged, full of life, lives for the moment, is happy, excited, and just an absolute joy), add to it, and give it right back. Reciprocity, its why we do what we do. I want to build something very special, and I want to build it out of maple Syrup and not Vinegar.
Thanks for reading and stopping by. I hope to continue this journey with you and make 2019 awesome AF.
Yours in fitness,
Blogging thoughts from OCRA Team