If you ask anyone around No Excuses CrossFit how they would describe our community, most of them would call this a family. It’s a pretty tight knit group of people, sharing physical struggles, triumphs, laughs, tears, stories and experiences. Often times people will say things like, ‘I just keep coming back because of the people. The workout is a side benefit.’ Community like this is crucial to a vibrant life, and oftentimes isn’t easy to come by in this day in age. I see the beauty of this community in an even bigger way; in the way we impact our kids and their future.
I believe it is a great privilege to be an influence in a child’s life, and it comes with no small responsibility. If you’re a big person around little persons, you can best believe you’re being watched. Our words, our actions and our countenance speak volumes to these young hearts and minds. As I write this, I think of the most profound influence in a child’s life, their parents.
As they grow, parents have the ability to frame their children’s worlds. It is a great and tremendous responsibility of course, but what an opportunity! What will their little eyes see? What does strength look like to them? What will their little ears hear? What does dedication sound like? What will their little hands feel? What does the knurling of a barbell feel like? If you are part of a CrossFit gym, then you have an opportunity to shape your kids’ world in a way that many might call “countercultural.” You create a “new normal” for your kids (although, it will just be “normal” for them).
In this community, our sons and daughters grow up seeing normal as: strong women with “big legs” and broad shoulders, bodies of all different shapes, movements like squats, presses, and muscle ups, people eating vegetables, mom doing pull-ups, dad pulling heavy weights and sprinting, perseverance, encouragement, hard work, equality, helping others, and being committed.
I love when we have families in the gym. It’s one thing for children to see this community, and it’s another thing for them to be part of this community. One of the best parts about our Kids/Teens program is that it allows entire families to be involved. It creates a common language and vision for these families. When parents get involved, it sets the example and as their kids join in, it creates this cool family dynamic that’s like, “This is what we are about. We are putting a priority on our health, our fitness, our nutrition, our movement.” It says, “Movement is normal. Working hard is normal. Encouraging others is normal.”
Our young kids can’t wait to join the big class one day, to get to use the dumbbells, to show us their air squats and their burpees, and how they can do an L-sit. Our teens thrive in an environment that cultivates self-confidence and friendships. When these kids do something new and succeed, when high school girls realize that they are strong; when dads and teenage daughters have common ground at the gym; this is what it is all about. These moments light up my heart because I see 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the road when these kids have been living this lifestyle for as long as they can remember, because their parents framed it for them. There is no “getting back into shape” or “learning how to squat” for them, it is just who they are.
To grow up watching your mom clean and jerk with ease, to see your dad deadlifting monstrous weights, to see yourself in their shoes one day, to get a big sweaty hug and a kiss from your parents after a WOD…well, I can’t think of a better way to grow up.