Getting Kids involved in Strength

by Thom Van Vleck

Ethan Van Vleck Supports the Weight of the Moon on his Back

It is so important to give kids positive outlets for their energy or they will find the negative things on their own.  We all train for different reasons and often for many reasons.  Fame, health, competition, pleasure are just a few reasons to choose from.  But I think the most important is to be a good role model and make an effort to teach a new generation about the importance of strength and what it can do for you.
I tell my kids bedtime stories, just like many fathers do.  But my stories often are about famous strength legends, like Milo, Hercules, Samson, and Atlas as well as contemporary legends like Saxon, Sandwina, and many others.  I want to instill my kids the idea that weight training and achieving strength is important for many reasons.  If they can stick to it, they will learn to stick with many challenges that will come in life.
Recently I had the honor of inducting Al Myers into the RMSA Hall of Fame and my family went along for the trip. For me, this included doing two strongman exhibitions and competing in a full Scottish Highland Games with my family present.  It was a real family affair with Al and his family there along with us.
During our trip to McPherson, we traveled as a family to the Kansas Cosmosphere.  If you are a fan of space travel, this is a great place to go.  While there, we walked by a replica of the moon and before we knew it, my youngest son, Ethan, scrambled underneath and pretended to groan as if lifting a heavy, heavy weight.  This drew the attention of many people there and some laughter followed as Ethan refused to move until a picture was taken!  He came over to me afterwards and I gave him a “high five” and he said, “I lifted it just like Atlas lifted the world”!

As our generation ages, we need to instill the same love for the iron game into our children that we have.  It won’t just “happen”, like our own developed abilities, it takes “workouts” and effort.  We need to bring kids along with us to our meets and explain to them what is going on and make it fun so they will want to do it!  I work every day to keep and maintain my children’s respect.  Ethan insists he will someday be as strong as me and you know what, I believe he will be stronger!

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