I have never been an athlete. I cannot even think of running a marathon. I have nothing to show as achievement in sports related activities, although I keep lots of interest in them.
I have always encouraged my sons to take part in all sports activities. They have not achieved anything great till now. But, in the process I have learnt a lesson or two from them.
One fine morning, my elder son approached me for permission to join the open marathon to be held in their school that day. It was to be a seven kilometer run open to all students. My son was about eleven or twelve years old at that time, not an ideal age to take part in such type of events as told by an expert to me later. My son was eager, so I gave him the permission to join the race.
I was not qualified to give my son any advice since I had never taken part in marathon race myself. But, as a father I had to encourage my son and give some tips based on whatever little knowledge I had about the event.
Behaving like an experienced athlete, I told him, “Just enjoy the run. Take it easy. After running for about 100 meters you’ll have a strong urge to stop since you’ll start getting tired. But do not stop. Once you stop, you may not be able to run again. Just keep going and going.”
My son nodded and left for school.
He returned from school in the afternoon very much excited. Before I could ask anything, he declared, “Daddy, I secured fifth position in the marathon and I’ll get some award for that.”
I was surprised.
He continued to narrate his experience,
“Almost the whole school participated in the run. Initially most of them were leading, but after sometime, many of them stopped and started getting into the bus that had been following us. I kept on running, remembering your advice not to stop. I started overtaking others and after sometime I found myself almost alone on the road. After taking a turn suddenly I saw our school building looking at me. When I entered the school compound students and teachers started cheering and clapping for me. Some one of them was shouting, Fifth, Fifth.. Arpit is Fifth…”
My son put into practice my theoretical knowledge however limited it may be. The mental strength he had shown by not stopping halfway made him successful.
In the process, he taught me a valuable lesson too.