Walking with Friends

by admin | June 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm | comments

When you hear the term 4G you might think it’s in relation to the speed of a phone, but that’s the exact opposite of what I mean when I say I’m a member of the 4Gs. As  a member of the  4Gs, I’m a dedicated walker. Four generations  of  active family members who realize that walking is key to a  healthy lifestyle. There’s my 85-year-old mother, 63-year-old me, my  33-year-old daughter, and Em, my four-year-old granddaughter. We were dubbed the 4Gs by my sister, Sue Parks, who is  the  founder and  CEO of WalkStyles. Our mission is to keep on walking and get others to do the same.

That’s all sweet  and good, but there’s a dark side  to  my  story. I’m battling an addiction to a very powerful force:  Words with Friends.  This is how bad it can be:  I wake  up in the middle of the night and immediately reach for my iPhone,fire up the WWF app, and  jump  right into a game. I can entertain myself for hours making words and racking up points.  Delayed flights, long stints in the dentist’s waiting room, and  a slow-moving line at the grocery store  … not a problem.  I have Words and Friends (some real, some random) to keep me company. I rationalize it as brain exercise while studying  a small screen and dragging letters  to utilize a triple-word square. In spite of this addiction, I do get in my 10,000 daily steps, sometimes with my head  bent over the  phone.

I definitely  needed to overcome my obsession, and my grandaughter helped me  do it. She and  I had strolled to the neighborhood park. While  Em amused herself  on the  playground equipment, I  sat down on a bench, pulled  out  my phone  and, with one  eye  on her and  one  eye on the teeny  game board, I started a  game  with  my fiercest competitor.  After a  bit,  Em grew bored  playing alone, sat down next  to me and offered to help.While  Em worked on her  assignment, I looked around the park:  It  was green and peaceful  and  pretty. On the lake, ducks  were  congregating and a  few  boys were launching a small sailboat.  Em brought me back to the game  by announcing, “Grandma, I’m done.”  Looking at the screen, I noted that indeed  it was no longer my  turn and that the best letter hadn’t been  played.   Deep breath.  Then another, deeper, breath. “Wow!  Great job, Em!” I choked out after  several  seconds  had passed.  “Let’s put the phone away  for now and walk  around the lake.  Let’s see what’s going on over there with that  sailboat.”  Without missing a beat, she was off and running.

This is what I discovered on our walk that day:  Sometimes I pay too much  attention to a   device  and not  enough to the world and the people around  me.  WWF took on a much healthier meaning: Walking With Family.  We were thrilled to discover the Together Counts ProgramTM also shares this belief by promoting family meals and activities. Together we can put down our digital devices for a period of time and get outside instead.

How do you turn digital distractions into a rewarding family activity for the entire family?

According to her mother, Nancy  started walking at the age of 13 months. She has enjoyed this activity ever since and has worn out hundreds of shoes. A retired teacher and active grandmother, Nancy added “blogger” to resume several months ago with her sister’s encouragement.