Walk To School Day

Did you know that today is International Walk to School day (at least, here in the US)?  I did.  I was made painfully aware of it because my kids’ school makes a big deal out of it and my kids begged me to walk the three-and-a-half miles from our house to their school.  Given that they’re only six and eight years old and that I’d have the two-year-old in tow as well, it wasn’t going to happen.  There was no way I was going to leave the house an hour or more early just so I could listen to them whining about being tired for the last three miles of the trip.  But, as it turns out, we did participate in Walk to School day.

On the one hand, I appreciate and support the idea because walking is good exercise and far better for us all than climbing into a gas-guzzling minivan for the morning commute.  Walking is also significantly cheaper in the long run; while shoes do wear out over time, my kids generally outgrow their shoes about the time they fall apart.  So, in theory, I think Walk to School Day is fantastic and that every school should support it and organize events around it.

But on the other hand, for many families, walking — or even biking — to school is simply not practical or even possible.  Walking several miles along and across major thoroughfares with small children is a logistical and safety nightmare.  In addition, while there are a surprisingly large number of stay-at-home parents at my kids’ school, for those of us who need to get to work, it’s hard to justify an hour of walking instead of a 10-minute drive.  And, yet, we participated.

Luckily, today’s event happened on a day when I was working from home and thus had a fairly flexible schedule.  We drove to a friend’s house, about a mile from the school, met up with their family, and walked from there.  Along the way, we picked up a few other families until we reached the corner about a block from the school where we were met by many more families, the school principal, and our local city supervisor.

This worked out well for everyone, I think; the only complaint I have is that there should have been limos waiting to take the parents back to their cars and homes.  While we were able to be a part of the special event today, it’s not something we could do on a regular basis.  It simply takes too much time.

So what are your thoughts on walking to school?  How do you get your kids to class?

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