Leadership Parenting

A Bi-Weekly Blog From John Rosemond and the ParentGuru Coaches

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Born to Parent

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Written by Shyla Lee

Categories: Parent Leadership and Authority

Comments: 0

Several years ago, I read the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougal. The book talks about the Tarahumara tribe, located in a very remote location in Mexico, and their long history of running very long distances barefoot (or with flat, homemade sandals). The book profiles how McDougal, through his research of the Tarahumara, came to believe that the human foot is designed for running. He began to eschew the contemporary dogma - especially found in the United States - that specialized shoes, designed just for running, were beneficial.

The advent of modern running shoes began with Bill Bowerman in the late 1960s. His initial goal was to make the most lightweight running shoe. In subsequent years, Nike focused on making supportive shoes, providing cushion for the foot. Of course, now there are a myriad of different shoe companies all selling runners shoes based on the assumption that supportive running shoes are required for the sport. But are they? Within the running community, those who reject the premise are known as “barefoot runners.” Barefoot runners argue that, like Born to Run promotes, our feet were designed for running and supportive running shoes alter that natural design causing more injuries and setbacks for runners. The result? Another market has developed called "minimalist” running shoes. These shoes are designed to protect the foot but without cushion and/or orthotic support.

If you’re asking yourself, “What does all this have to do with being a parent?” don’t worry – you’re right on schedule! Keep reading.

John Rosemond has often talked of the advent of “parenting experts,” which incidentally coincides with Bill Bowerman starting Blue Ribbon Sports, the precursor to Nike. And the way I see it, there is a valuable connection between those two seemingly unrelated events.

In both cases, experts arose saying certain problems existed and offered a solution. They sold the (parenting and running) communities on the "answers," which, as the decades passed, have shown to be not as stalwart as expected. Like feet are designed for running, parents have within them the ability to lead and model, train, and disciple their children. And just like supportive running shoes haven't decreased injuries related to running, the "expert" parenting philosophies haven't helped child development, mental health, family stability…the list could go on and on!

Are there exceptions? Of course. Some runners truly benefit from supportive running shoes, and some parents don’t possess the needed attributes of a nurturing leader. However, when entire paradigms are based on the exceptions, rather than the rule, the result is a loss of common sense. Sense still exists, but as we fight against natural design and align ourselves to artificial constructs of understanding, it is no longer common.

After decades of parenting experts proliferating their message, parents have lost touch with their natural design to lead their children. They have lost touch with the commonsense principles of parenting, handed down through generations but now, much harder to find. As the running community continues to evaluate their shoes, and some decide to run “barefoot,” more and more parents realize their own capacity to nurture, lead, and discipline their children to be who they are designed to be. Welcome to a community of coaches and parents committed to reconnecting with THAT design!

Shyla Lee
Guest Contributor

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