Race Day & ‘Rents (Stew Whitcomb’s NP Parents Blog) (IND)

“With the end of one month comes the beginning of another.” -Aristotle

End of the month means Race Day here in Indy, and what a Race Day it was! Pastor James brought a flock of newbies (thanks, James!), Tom and Macko killed it as our paint crew, JB played the role of picture master, and the weather was perfect. We even had a newbie commit to Race Day (and breakfast club afterwards) after learning of NP just LAST NIGHT! Spring fever really draws a crowd. Great work all around, and congrats to all who set new PRs.

Friday we’re teaming up with Cooper’s Fun Run for a 5k along the canal. Come out for a fun-filled, energetic 5k with friends, coffee, and sweet cafe treats. Any donation you make goes towards Wheeler Mission. Meet at Quill’s Coffee inside the 9onCanal apartment complex at 5:45a for a 6a run. More on the event here.

Please let us know if you’re willing and able to volunteer for the Special Olympics Indiana Unified Fitness Day exercise event our friend Nastya Helmich is hosting near Greenwood. She’s looking for 8-16 NP volunteers, so we’d love to #justshowup to support her cause. Check out (download) her flyer and get back to us by this Friday: Unified-Fitness-Day

Now a shift towards a valuable perspective on yet another benefit of NP. We know NP brings people together to kickstart their days, gets people fit, and builds community within communities. Stewart Whitcomb has yet another take on the reach of these aspects and the overall impact of this movement.  Stew, an NP Indy tribe member essentially since our inception, has seen our ups and downs and has thankfully been a constant throughout. He’s a good friend, a smart architect (some say too smart), a loving father, and a guy who originally got on board with NP Indy as a way to get himself in shape. That last part may seem trite compared to the rest in that list, but Stew makes the point that getting and staying active and in shape is perhaps as important as the rest; Without an active mind and able body, the friendship, work, and dad roles all risk getting watered down, becoming less-than-fulfilling (for all involved), and/or shortened. Better than my synopsis, here’s Stew in his own words:

In honor of some new additions to the November Project family, I finally got some thoughts “on paper” about parenting, fitness, kids and the November Project movement. (Sorry guys, it’s a two-pager Blog!)

Over the years, I’ve heard some talk of parent’s time committed to fitness as taking time for yourself over your family and children, or called a privilege or indulgence. So, some of you maybe worried that some of our active members have a chronic or new case of “PAR*ENT*ING” which will keep them from some workouts and the tribe.
Hopefully we can all appreciate a fit parent would have improved their confidence, reflexes, strength, and stress relief through exercise. This helps physically keep up with the mini-humans for less spills, scrapes and bumps. However, a community like November Project is really what is good for a family.

For those without “PAR*ENT*ING”, let me add some perspective on the condition, and why the associate mini-humans are a bid deal. “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” – Elizabeth Stone. Except, children don’t ever go around for an easy walk. The literal embodiment of your future hopes and plans, all your current worries and obligations, and a reflection of your own past; yeah … pretty much your everything goes bounding around in a tiny undeveloped body through this big scary world, oblivious to consequences or danger and the parent’s projected emotional (but helmets are only for special occasions like bikes and football).

The little scamps just go and roll off anything without rails, crawl headfirst under tables, and try to eat mulch and dirt. Then grow-up (a bit) to walk, climb, run, jump, play and dance. All of this activity is for very good reason; they have a world to explore and body to learn. Not only new and interesting places for playing, sleeping, eating, and pooping (those last two in separate places), but also to learn how the world works. They have to work out basic things we can’t even un-comprehend to relate, like object-permanence and gravity (Not the Newtonian math part, but actual application of balance and how a liquid works). In most families they start with plushies and food; yes projectile food happens. Their physical bodies are developing and growing requiring constant adjustments to balance and coordination too.

It is marvelous to watch and guide each and every step they start to learn by watching actions, body language (with no miming or vocabulary), and then start to try those actions and responses themselves. Their attention to emotion and queues from adults is how being a part of the NP tribe makes a big difference. Learning to find your positive vibe in the early dark hours of the morning helps with those temper tantrums, stubborn eaters, celebrating achievements and good choices. Finding your way to a dark and early workout help with midnight dirty diapers, sick-up-nights and nightmares. Communicating outside of your comfort zone dials in your listening skills and distances your preconceptions so you can understand the baby talk (turns out, alot like most social media posts, probably an interruption without context, request, or an update on food).

Yoga breath, silent workouts, and air-squats can help with bedtime too, but I can’t explain all the techniques in short. I was surprise at how socially intensive those earlier years were, before talking even started. As a new parent I’ had come to appreciate the workouts, socials and committing to the culture of the tribe, because it continues to challenge my patience, comfort zone and empathy, which boils down to communication skills that carries over to raising children.

A few short years later, those uncoordinated toddlers quickly grow into full-blown recess-time track-stars and team sport competitors. School and teams adds playmates and pretend play, which brings up fair-play, social skills, and emotional intelligence children need for social interaction. Generally those take more years to learn (and come with their own kind of danger, bumps and bruises). But in those same years, children rely on physical play and interaction as their primary way to learn about other humans. This is often the same point when a parent will be getting along in their middle years. Suddenly, “the floor is lava!” is as a good day while throwing things at each other is the start of a bad one (even if all throws miss, shortly after “a talking-to” they’ll have the idea of throwing things straight-up to dodge!? And, why are helmets not for all the time?) Again, stress management, speed and readiness to react and protect are obviously important. Factor in the lack of sleep plus macaroni-and-cheese and french fries contaminating the house nutrition…, now keeping up in fitness and energy is a challenge that requires community support.

Stew’s daughter Evelyn directing traffic at a rainy workout. #weatherproof family

The tribe continues to help me stay fit and positive so I can better parent and connect with my children. The unpredictability of NP workouts helps me play along with the ‘creative rules’ of my young children, hop over the floor-lava, while being the ‘responsible one’ and find more opportunities share examples of fair play. In summary (Yea it was that long, and you read all that. Good job) if you are planning to have children, have children but haven’t made a workout in a while, or are a regular November Project Parent, I recommend you #Justshowup commit to made it work, reach out to other parents (and kids) in your tribe, and lean on your tribe to help with that PAR*ENT*ING.

To the rest of the membership, don’t worry friends, that new case of “PAR*ENT*ING” may keep them from some workouts, but they’re just recruiting the complicated way.

Guest blog by Stew W.

P.s. I have great appreciation for Brogan, Bojan, Laura, Jason, Casey, and all the tribes co-leaders that keep this crazy movement going week to week, and arc our culture back to an active, healthy community of humans.


Enjoy this spring weather! 


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