FiA has supported and encouraged fitness, friendships, careers, weight loss, confidence, faith, marriages, parenting, etc. Look no further than the growing number of FiAs, the expansion into new cities, the heartfelt blog posts here. I want to add another verse to our chorus of FiA love. FiA enables women of all ages to engage with each other.
The South is a lovely place. I’m blessed to have been raised here and raise my own children here. There are lots of stereotypes – good and bad, true and false – but one that had a lasting impact on my rearing was “respect your elders.” I knew to say yes ma’am and yes sir, please and thank you before I learned how to ride a bike. Seriously. I was one of the best behaved and well-mannered students, niece, neighbor, etc. But truthfully, I didn’t have any meaningful relationships outside of a two-year age range. Sure, I had a ‘relationship’ with my parents, teachers, friends’ parents, etc. but it was one built upon them talking and me politely listening. My first job, I called my boss “Mr. Davis” for days until he couldn’t take it anymore. You can imagine how hard it was for me to find my voice.
FiA is a great equalizer. We show up each morning, in the dark, without our armor or our history. And if it weren’t for saying our name at the end… “Katharine – Guinevere – 41” “GUINEVERE!!” …no one would know my age. Yet the Mothership, the track, the pullup bars humble 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 year olds equally. And wheelbarrowing 50 yards, no one cares whether you’re a doctor or a student, “just grab my ankles and let’s get going!”
FiA has afforded me (and I’m guessing lots of you) relationships that I would not have known how to cultivate. I have had amazing chats with gals 15 years my junior. I love that I can share what I’ve learned about working, marriage, mothering, etc. I love that so much of my wisdom is relevant and am humored to hear how much is woefully dated. Many of the ladies I work out with are closer to my kids’ age than my own. And I get more from my interactions with them than they do me – their positivity, energy, speed (slow down!!) are contagious.
This fall, the church I attend asked for non-parent volunteers to lead the young children’s Sunday school. What a terrific idea! At most churches, moms and dads of young kids teach Sunday school. But aren’t they the ones that probably need the ‘adult church’ more than anyone? 24-7 these young parents are explaining concepts in simple terms and bright colors. Can’t they have 45 minutes where they get to use big words and grapple with tough topics? Well at our church, the answer is yes! So my dear friend, Solo (in her 20’s), volunteered to teach. And finally (five paragraphs in!) I get to the genesis of this post: my daughter, Cornflake, offered to volunteer with her. “I know Solo – she’s my friend! I’ll help her teach!”
FiA did that. It bridged an age gap that would have been an impassable chasm for 11-year-old-Guinevere. But Cornflake didn’t hesitate.
Much love to F3 too. F3 FC (Metro’s soccer team) came up a player short in a friendly match. My son suited up and crossed and defended as well as a 13 year old, 90 pound boy can against middle aged men. And then went out for wings and a coke with the team – chatting about school and soccer and the Panthers’ winning season. F3 did that.
It’s impossible to measure the impact FiA and F3 have had in our home. But this I know with 1000% certainty – it’s positive! I’m betting future TML 2.0 and Cornflake would agree.