I might as well just come right out and say it: On International Walk to School Day I drove my kids to school.
Yes. For the second year in a row, I must shamefully admit that we traveled to school by car on International Walk to School Day.
Despite my best intentions. Despite knowing ahead of time that we’d be walking. Despite having written an article about how to have a fun walk to school with the kids. In spite of all of it, I was that parent who drove her kids to school. On International Walk to School Day.
Our morning started out just like any other and all 3 kids knew it was a special day. But for reasons known only to them, all three kids decided it was a perfect day to dawdle even more than usual.
Though they accomplished everything on their morning checklists, when it came time to leave, our downward spiral began. One child needed socks. Another needed library books. The 3-year-old needed to find a very particular super-hero toy “RIGHT NOW or I won’t ever go to school ever again and I mean it”.
There’s nothing like desperately searching under beds for The Incredible Hulk, knowing that the morning bell will ring before I can ever possibly walk my kids to school, and then having the same 3-year-old who is demanding that I look for the Hulk also insist on riding his scooter at the same time as the 9-year-old gives up on the rest of the family and starts walking on his own. And though we all follow soon after, the 3-year-old spontaneously decides he’d rather go in the wagon, leading me to turn around — having only walked a tiny bit of the way — and tell the 2 remaining kids (one of whom is nearly in tears because she is going to be late) that we’re going to take the car today. And so I pile them in — possibly even offering candy to the compliant ones — take a deep breath, and drive away.
But the thing is, no one is keeping track. No one is watching me and filing reports when my plans to walk to school fail dramatically.
What I know is this: It doesn’t really matter if I walked to school today. What matters is that our family has the intention to walk to school every day. Yes, we will slip up sometimes. Even on International Walk to School Day. But the intention to walk is there. It is there every day. And almost every day we walk. To school. From school. Somewhere. We always walk.
And if my kids and I walk to school 95 percent of the time, I can’t look at that as a 5 percent failure rate. On the contrary, it is a 95 percent success rate. Which, compared to most families in North America is something to be very proud of.
Even if it means we sometimes take the car on International Walk to School Day.