Morning Walks With My Son

Walking my son to school was a kind of slow, pleasant awakening in an equally sleepy universe, until he announced he was old enough to walk alone.

Comments: 53

  1. A lovely story about shared time with your son, independence, and once independence is gained, his quiet recognition of the value of shared time with his father.

  2. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a sweet story! It is so important to slow down and enjoy our kids. Most times we are so wrapped up in our own worlds and stresses. The author is a wise man to spend his time with his son on these amazing morning walks.

  4. My father and I would take walks through the city together later in life, not talking much, but keeping company and sharing the day. But, when I was younger, my dad asked whether I wanted to go across the street to the candy store for an egg cream, which was the one and only time we did that. He'd grown up the son of candy store owners, living in the back or above candy stores in Brooklyn with his parents and sisters. He didn't talk much about that time at all, not that I asked. But he once shared the secret of making did egg creams -- cold milk, I think it was. And the one day we each had an egg cream across the street in the small candy store on the corner is an odd, sweet, quiet memory.

  5. How beautiful! My son just turned four. I am planning to start a rhythm of walking with him this summer, and I hope it will last for years. Slowing down and enjoying the road is the best part of our time together.

  6. This reminds me of the morning my oldest informed me that third graders didn't kiss their mothers goodbye at the schoolhouse door. I asked if it would be okay to shake hands, he agreed, and we did so with great solemnity. But it must not have felt quite as satisfactory to him, because the next morning he requested a return to kissing.

  7. Thank you for this lovely, inspiring, and uplifting story! My son is only 21 months, we have a long way to go, but this is something I won't forget. NOT to mention how much I miss my summers in Tel Aviv:)

  8. Our daughter is 17 and our son is 15. I'm already grieving about them leaving home. I say yes whenever the boy asks to play catch.

  9. Incredibly sweet. Great kid. Thanks- we needed that.

  10. I love this story. I see little kids and parents holding hands as as they walk and wonder at what age that usually stops. Do kids think they're too grownup for that at some point and take their hand away?

    It's good for families to spend time together without their iphones. I observe small kids are being talked to less because their parents are glued to their phone. I wonder if this will end up causing kids to fall behind in verbal ability by the time they reach school age.

  11. I just shed a few tears thinking of how young I was when I became too old to walk with my parents.

    Many years later I found I was no longer too old; I cherish weekly walks with my mother around her retirement community.

    Come to think of it, I don't think I ever did get too old, it was the other kids that did. How inane that we let random kids make us feel embarrassment for being loved by our parents, and loving them in return!

    I think you captured it: we want it on our own terms. To know we're old enough not to be supervised but that a parent genuinely wants to share a mutually enriching, enjoyable time together. And then, not all parents can carry off mutually enriching, enjoyable time together, whether they want it or not.

    There's something about walking, propelling yourself through time and space, able to see this bird and pet that cat and stop for a snack, and conversing through those changing scenarios that just driving or sitting together can't replicate. (In fact, I remember in my twenties and thirties I used to take long walks in the hills while I was on the phone with friends long-distance, which was the next-best thing to walking with them.)

    You and your son are blessed that growing up only took him two days. It took me two decades.

  12. I don't do daily. But every Saturday I go along with my son for his Soccer class at his elementary school. He bikes, I trail behind walking. Through Fall, Spring and early Summer; the exhilaration is great. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to unwind a hectic week. My son loves. While he plays Soccer, I keep walking around the field in circles - my exercise.

    The routines are important, especially with sons. My daughter - always well behaved, so a different matter.

    In a year this is all going to end as he goes to the Middle School. Time flies.

  13. When my son was a toddler attending daycare, I used to pick him up every afternoon at 5pm and go with him to do food shopping for dinner. When I was his age, my mother tells me, I used to love going with her to the supermarket because I was always happy surrounded by all the variety of foods and vegetables. I loved it so much that we used to go almost every day and it quickly became our routine. I didn't realize how much I wanted to unconsciously replicate that routine with my son.
    Today he is 8 years old and we love going together for food shopping trips.

  14. You may have created a lifelong ritual: I'm 49 and still love to go grocery shopping with my mom on my visits home!

  15. This is an absolutely lovely story. It touched my heart.

  16. Thank you so much for this essay, which reminds me of the 13 years I walked both of my boys to elementary school each morning, cherishing every moment of it, every random conversation. My older son bounced a basketball the entire way during the second grade so that he could improve his skills, while the younger one wanted to hold my hand until he entered 5th grade. Like you, we discussed a wide range of topics, including which super hero or special power we would choose, what would happen if we mixed certain ingredients together, or how wonderful magnets were. But we also talked about practical things, brainstorming ideas for a science project or considering how to best handle the aggressive behavior of a class bully. Sometimes we would laugh at certain frantic-looking parents who were perpetually late, speeding dangerously past us in an effort to be on time. I think my boys understood and appreciated how lucky we were to ease into each day with a little exercise, fresh air, and good conversation. When my younger son started middle school this year, he opted to take the city bus with his neighborhood friends, and when I asked if he would like me to walk with him to the bus stop, he replied, "No, that's okay. I'll just walk with my friends."

  17. With my son it was sitting on my lap and the numbered days for that custom that got smaller as he got bigger. A parent knows those points of no return and we temper the melancholy with the thought of new experiences that await as our kids move from stage to stage.

  18. I've done this with all three of my kids. There's something about walking--more than sitting in the same room, where there are too many distractions--that promotes open and far-ranging conversation. The rhythm and physicality somehow loosens the lips of otherwise recalcitrant talkers. I've made the sad transition with two of my kids to their walking on their own, and am not looking forward to losing the third. What a wonderful idea that I might not have to, even as he becomes old enough to do it on his own.

  19. Very beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Reminded me of long walks and drives with my dad from childhood. We still do these when he visits or I go to see him.
    Hoping to have similar memories with my toddler as he grows older.

    Also reminded me of this lyric from the Beatles:
    "You and I have memories
    Longer than the road that stretches out ahead"

  20. The best possible outcome -- a child strong and happy enough to fledge, and to return!

  21. Lovely story. Thank you.

  22. Nothing like a nice walk with your kid. The same streets, the same houses, still they give you tons of things to talk about. I can relate to your sadness when his trying to show independence trumped your cherished walk, what a nice feeling to hear that when he is able to decide, he chooses walking with dad again.
    Geat inspiration, will try to instill this to my kid, what others do should not drive what you do, do what feels right
    happy father's day!

  23. So lovely and charming, thank you for taking us on your walk.

  24. must be nice to be able to spend an hour each day for this chore, there and back again.

  25. Exactly. Says something about how poorly we value parenting in the US. So few folks have the luxury of this kind of time.

  26. Lucky boy! Lucky Dad!

  27. Stunning article by the amazing Keret.

  28. Beautiful story.

  29. Beautiful, in so many ways. Thank you.

  30. Happy Father's Day, Mr. Keret.

  31. Such a beautiful story - it brought tears to my eyes.

  32. A wonderful article. I had the immense pleasure of receiving a link to this article from my daughter, with whom I walked to school for three years -- about 20 years ago. Those were the days...

  33. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your lovely morning journeys with us.

  34. A Hebrew speaking country on the African savannah? You know that people already have countries there??

  35. Like the Indians who lived where you do? Clearly you missed the point of the story.

  36. And you did know that the Anglo-Saxons stole that whole continent from the Aborigines, didn't you?

  37. Great article! Thanks for sharing it!

  38. This essay made me teary-eyed. Thank you, Etgar, for writing it. I have 2 sons, ages 12 and 14. I still walk up the street and wait at the bus stop with them, not because I need to, but because I enjoy the quiet of the morning and the chance for the father-son alone time. I've been fearful for the past few years that they would protest and want me to stay home. But, yesterday, my 14 year old wrote me a note for Father's Day and thanked me for walking up to the bus stop with him every morning and told me how much he enjoyed it.

  39. What an enjoyable read! My daughter starts middle school this coming August, and this article strikes such a chord with me. The description of the walk to school is beautiful, but you get me at the paragraph where your son exerts his independence and what follows from there.

  40. Beautiful article, I loved it. I dont have that particular luxury because I go to work early, but I do get the opportunity to drive the kids home from school and it is something I cherish. That first, spontaneous outburst of information.

  41. It’s big moment in a boy’s life when he becomes self-conscious about being seen with his parents by his schoolmates.

  42. Beautiful. I cherish my near-daily walks with my son in the Vermont woods.
    No screens, no Trump, no stress beyond bears and ticks. We speak differently, share so much, see and experience a colorful varied changing world together.
    And there is a magic doorway.

  43. No Trump? What kind of a person are you?

  44. This was beautiful and enchanting. Thank you!
    Sheila McKenna, the Berkshires, Massachusetts

  45. my dad was never able to walk with me to school. but sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, if he did not have to work, he and i would walk up to the convenience store at the edge of the neighborhood, and he would buy each of us a Tootsie-Roll, his favorite. a few years later a big shopping center appeared where the convenience store had been. we walked regularly to see it going up, because by then he did not have work on Saturday or Sunday. those walks with my Pop are not just an indelible memory, they were some of the most wonderful moments i had as a child - a long time ago, but i remember as though they were yesterday!!!!

  46. What a sweet essay, capturing the fleeting treasure of time spent with our rapidly growing children. Here's hoping you have many more walks.

  47. Beautiful story. I live in San Diego near the school my children will be attending and plan to walk them both to school as long a they will let me. This story made me wish the walk was longer.

  48. What a beautiful story. No doubt you have started something that your son will not only remember and look back on fondly, but will want to share with his family some day. As always it is the things we cannot buy or touch that we feel the most.

  49. A simple ritual, a wonderful story - inspiring!

  50. Beautifully written. There's a tear in my eye -- and I'm nearing my 76th birthday. My 55-yo daughter is in Greece.

  51. I have 3 boys, the first of whom will be starting full day school in September (the youngest is sleeping on my shoulder as I read this). I can't thank you enough for this beautiful essay. I can always use a reminder to savor the seemingly mundane moments with my kids, for they are fleeting, even when the day feels like it's dragging on and the witching hour is setting in. I look forward to being there alongside my sons' for company, not just supervision. Your son sounds like a sweet, smart boy.

  52. My daughter is 13 now and with her own keys to the house and a very different schedule than mine. I am at my desk in downtown Toronto when she leaves the house. Then she calls me on the phone and I sit with my feet up and watch the world below and I walk her to school. She tells me about the books she is reading and the bird she just saw. About her hands getting cold because she forgot her mittens. Or about the dinner we should make together that night. Its not the same as walking with her but then again it is.

    Thank you for this lovely essay.

  53. What a great story! Touched me and made me remember my father. Our best talks were on my 20s. I embarked myself on the adventure of creating an NGO to solve conservation problems. Spent days on flied work and every time i came back home, usually very late at night, he was waiting for me and we had a long chat about the projects. During WWII, at 21 years old, he had to lead men 10 years older than him. We talked a lot about that and how to lead people. I sure miss him and those conversations.