So to start off with I've never stepped on a nail, thank goodness. My feet are pretty tough since I've been spending so much time without shoes but they certainly wouldn't withstand that.
One of the things that is really difficult for me to manage with my kids has to do with freedom. They are completely free and out of control with their bodies. On the one hand this means that they dance and wave their arms about, they jump and bounce, they laugh and scream...on the other hand this means that every single glass of water you pour for them is about to get knocked in your lap.
I try to teach them to get some of that energy under control. I don't want to take 4 clothed baths a day and the number of clean ups I am capable of is limited before I just turn into a cranky ass dad. So part of my job is to teach them to control their bodies. But the problem is that the more in control they are, the more they lose that spontaneity. The more they suppress that exuberance, the more they lose their wild freedom, and the more I feel like I'm taming them. I don't want to take that away from them but I do want them to stop breaking our glasses. I don't really remember being told to get under control, but I sure remember the look on my dad's face when I cartwheeled into the coffee table and knocked it over.
Running is me reverse engineering my own internal control. I'm recapturing the feeling...just before hitting the table, but it took removing my shoes to get me there. In large part this has to do with the natural shift in my running form that came from taking them off or running in very minimal shoes, but another part of it is doing something a little bit ridiculous and wild. The feeling is central to the experience and I wouldn't be signing up for races and running all over East Lansing if it didn't feel good. I'm channeling my babies' wildness.
None of us has stepped on any nails yet. I've seen them hurt themselves with their unruly ways, and I'm sure I'll cut my feet up at some point but I don't really mind that. The freedom is worth the price.