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He’s very active

November 30, 2010

I’ve said it. You probably have, too.

“He’s very active” or “He has a lot of energy.”

I hear moms on the playground say it. I read moms on message boards say it. I heard my son’s preschool teacher say it.

We say it by way of explanation, apology, excuse?

Inside we love our sons and their energy, but we know that it bumps against the boundaries that are placed on them. We sense that it is something that isn’t understood or appreciated by some that we meet.

I was thinking about my 95-year-old great uncle yesterday after I read someone wondering if her son with a lot of energy would do ok in a certain school.  I thought about the energy he has always had.

In a different time, his energy helped put food on the table as he worked in the farm before walking several miles to school then back home. His energy churned ice cream by hand every day for his pregnant mother’s cravings.

It powered his career as a Marine in WWII. It drove him to run every day until he was in his 90s.

We apologize for our son’s high energy when we should thank God for it.

In another time, their energy is what built homes, planted crops, fought wars, and built nations. Today, in many places it is frowned upon because it does make life difficult if your end goal is peace and quiet.

I know there are good, legitimate reasons why our sons should develop long attention spans and the ability to keep their hands to themselves and their feet on the floor. However,  I also think there is more to be valued in high energy than we hear about these days.

I wonder if boys’ fascination with video games is linked to their inability to be as active as they want to be. At least in a video game they can run as fast as they want, hit as hard as they can, capture the prize and win the day.

My husband was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, and now I thank God for his high energy levels. He works hard every day doing physical labor as a carpenter.  I could never do what he does daily. High energy is also required for running companies, performing surgeries at all hours of the day and night, and other important work.

I am certainly not a perfect mother. I sometimes (often!) am grateful for tv shows that seem to plant them in one place for more than 10 minutes at a time.  I just think that as a rule, our schools, our playgrounds and our homes are becoming less “boy-friendly” all the time because they have turned one of a man’s greatest strengths–his physical energy–into a weakness.

I’m going to stop apologizing for my son’s energy levels, and just be grateful instead.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2010 9:25 am

    Yes, we should thank God for the energy. Just wish we could bottle it. You know, the energy is not so hard to handle when we aren’t trying to shove it into a school package. At home one can always send them outside for a few minutes to run it off. My youngest actually doesn’t have a lot of energy so I have new reasons to be thankful for what is there.

  2. Karen Yanes permalink
    December 2, 2010 10:52 am

    Thank you for this article! I can relate to everything you’ve written. So many times I’ve said the same thing about my son: “He’s very active” as an apology for his behavior. Maybe some people really can’t relate because their children are calm. I welcome my son’s energy because it fills my life with joy (when I am focused solely on him). Outside the home, though, that’s where it can become an issue with others and the stress can become unbearable. I am thankful, as a homeschooler, that I can give my children opportunities to channel their energy. Whether they are taking dance or Martial Arts classes, or running and playing outside. Also, I’m thankful to be able to give them many chances to learn where and when to be “calmer” and “quieter”… if they can (i.e., church, library, store, etc.). I will keep thanking God for their energy because one day others will see it as a true gift; an asset worth appreciating. 🙂

    • December 2, 2010 1:03 pm

      Thanks Karen and Karen! I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling this way. I caught myself today about to say it, but then I just smiled and kept my mouth closed 🙂 God bless you and your families this holiday!

  3. December 9, 2010 7:42 pm

    All that energy is part of why we wanted to move out to the country. And my sons in particular are so much calmer now that they have ample time outside and regular chores to keep them active, though none of it is all that demanding. Of course, they have all their own projects to keep them busy out there, too!

  4. December 10, 2010 3:10 am

    Very well said. Sometimes we forget what a blessing that healthy energy is. Thanks for the reminder.

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