When I was a boy…

I’ve done it. I’ve actually done it. I can hardly believe it. I never thought I’d see the day. I never thought it would come to this. I did the "when I was a boy I used to walk…", speech to my kids.

It’s times like this when I realise that generation after generation is doomed to do the same old same old. I can’t remember exactly what it was that my mother used to tell me, but I’m sure there was trudging a mile through two feet of snow in the dark involved somewhere.

So, why did I resort to such measures? Well I was reading recently that research backs up what I’ve thought for ages – that kids aren’t as fit as they used to be, because among other things, they don’t get out walking enough any more because they get driven everywhere by car. I think that’s certainly been the case with my kids since I’ve had a car. So I’ve started making a point of getting them out of the house for a walk every day that they’re at my place. Even if it’s just down the street to the shops.

Kids invariably resist what they’re not used to, especially if it involves more effort. And on Monday they were whinging a bit about having to walk (gasp) to the supermarket (gasp) – all of 600 metres away (gasp), and I finally cracked, and found myself uttering those words. Telling them that we didn’t have a car when I was growing up. That I used to walk about a kilometre to primary school. And later on I caught the train to high school.

It had to happen some day I guess. Maybe despite our differences in musical taste, I am turning into my parents after all.

Anyway the strategy may be working. Today we walked to the supermarket, and they didn’t complain. We’ll see. I bet it’s doing them (and me) some good. I’d really like to prevent us from all becoming car-dependent lazy slobs.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.