We had a good, slightly heated, discussion yesterday in the class I teach, "Fundamentals of Physical Conditioning" and here are some of the questions I posed:
Should an individual be able to perform 10 pull-ups (chest to the bar, all the way to a dead hang, no bicycle legs or swimming stroke kicks) in order to be able to graduate high school?
Be able to run a mile in under 7 minutes?
Attain a specific average in the 300 yard shuttle test (2 trials with 2 minutes recovery between reps)?
Demonstrate 30 push-ups with precision technique?
Maintain a high level proficiency in a scored movement assessment of running, jumping, climbing, and lifting techniques?
The list could be pretty extensive, but you get the idea.
My argument is that somebody has to step-up and (re-) 'up' the standard. Why not school P.E.? Or are we just too soft?!
The other situation I presented was an at home example. The other evening my 4 year old daughter wanted to watch a video after we got done eating dinner (it was a sing and dance along video I'll have you know, so it wasn't a totally passive video). I told her she could if she did 100 push-ups first. She gladly obliged and proceded to perform push-ups. Her technique leaves a little to be desired but she's working on it... she just turned 4.
As she's off in the living room counting "... 19, 20, 21... ", my wife 40% jokingly, 60% not (that's what it was, I tested it with a tone meter) argues,"Don't you think that's child abuse?"
"No." I immediately responded turning back to continue to monitor Eva as she continued doing push-ups after a brief rest.
All this got me thinking a little more, and I've often wondered, 'is something like this, having my daughter do push-ups just for an opportunity to do something, bad?' What's more abusive, paying with push-ups for a privilage or making a kindergartner sit still in a desk for a total of 2-3 hours out of a day... setting the stage for the beginning of the end for many when it comes to an active lifestyle? Or better yet, feeding our kids the school lunches?