It started out of necessity. His car broke down AGAIN. He needed to get to work and walking 30 miles, or whatever it is, was out of the question. So he took the SUV. “Only temporarily,” he assured me. The kids still had to get to school. The bus stop is only3/4 of a mile from the house. So we walked.
And I liked it.
No arguing over who was sitting where. No fighting over who got in the car first. No excess energy to deal with when we got home either. I was on to something.
You see, we own 3 vehicles. It used to be 4. I had a van to use as back up when the SUV was not available to me. The van had a flat tire and we just didn’t find the time to fix it. So we walked. Then a dead battery. We walked again. Eventually,I saw the van as a money hog. Insurance, gas, upkeep yada yada… I gave it away. Someone else could benefit from it. We really didn’t need 4 vehicles with only 2 drivers in the house. We could walk…
I like the fact that we walk to and from the bus stop. It helps with the kids’ energy level. They are more focused in school. They fight less. They are healthier.They fight less. It saves us money. And…they fight less.
I like that..ALOT.
Going to school can be a stressful thing for kids. Any kid actually. Not just ones that are picked on or bullied. Not just the kids that struggle in school. All kids get wound tighter than a top sometimes. That energy needs a release somewhere. I have found that walking home and talking about things on the way seems to help. They all walk at a different pace. The ones that need to talk about something with me tend to hang back a little.The others walk a bit ahead. By the time we get home, the problem is usually dealt with. They are more relaxed and can focus on other things once we get in the door.
I won’t lie. Some mornings are crazy. Even crazier than if we drive to school. Some mornings the girls are brushing their hair as we walk. Forgotten things need to be just that…forgotten. No going home to get it. On occasion, someone has fallen, or stepped in puddle, or something to that effect, and gotten dirty. I still will send them to school like that. I hate to, but school is too important to miss. The school is only 2.5 miles from the house, so we can walk all the way there if need be. Thankfully, that rarely happens. Only once last year and not at all this year (knock on wood). I can only imagine what the teachers think of me when the kids come to school on a bad day. (Sorry teachers!)
I like the cost savings of only using one vehicle so much that I now try to plan appointments to coincide with the public bus schedule. Yes, that means that dentist appointments require a longer time out of school. But the benefits far outweigh the negatives here too. All of my children can safely navigate their way across busy streets. They all are familiar with how to ride a public bus. They can read a bus schedule. They even know the importance of being somewhere on time. After all, the bus won’t wait on you, you have to wait on the bus.
We do use the small cars on rare occasions. But most of the time they just sit idly by, gathering a layer of dust.
I like that just fine.