How to Instill Character, Good Habits and a Love of Fitness in ChildrenJan 30, 2010
This is a great sports day for us. Not Super Bowl Sunday but cheer for my kids Saturday. For some reason these days always seem to involve a lot of driving. First forty minutes to my daughter's basketball game then immediately after another forty minute rush to see my youngest son's gymnastics meet. Then finish the triangle by driving home.
At the basketball game, I ran into someone I began home schooling with back in 1987. We exchanged updates on children and grandchildren. She commented that what she remembered about me in those days is that I was always pushing a stroller. That jarred my memory to those days with very young children. I recalled many happy moments spent with my children. Exercising Values is designed to help the next generation of young moms navigate these crucial years.
We sometimes call these years the formative years and aptly so. Much of your child's destiny is determined by the kind of person they are influenced to be. Character and values do matter and we pick them up at a young age.
That doesn't mean that we can't improve later in life as you'll quickly discover if you focus on improving any aspect of your own character. Exercising Values doesn't let us adults off the hook because it's impossible to guide children to better character without examining our own. At the very least, we should improve in humility; as we discover how far short we fall from excellence in things like patience, diligence, courage or hospitality. When we admit our own imperfections, our children can relax and look to us for a hand up instead of a put down. As a family we can support and encourage each other.
Health and physical fitness is another area in which we can lead by example. I promised to give you tips from Joel Marion's Transformation Domination conference and here's one that you can do with your school aged children. Instead of keeping a food journal, like many nutritionists and personal trainers suggest, try keeping an ingredients journal. If you want to switch to a simpler, healthier diet this will be very eye-opening. You can simply write apple, chicken or eggs. But if you rely on processed foods you might have to write down a slew of unpronounceable words naming ingredients that you have no idea why you are ingesting. Look on a cereal box, crackers or most brands of bread or ice cream and you'll see what I mean.
In the days ahead, we'll talk about the connection between toxins and body fat but for now just know that wholesome, organic, grass-fed, nutrient dense foods without additives, antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides and other chemicals provide many advantages in your pursuit of health and a trim waistline. Just like character is learned early so are food preferences and eating habits. The concept of eating for two really doesn't end at birth because children will emulate your food choices. Exercising Values contains good basic information on nutrition.
If you are intentional about how you lead your children you can help them become people of depth and virtue. You can influence their exercise and eating habits. In the process, you'll become healthier, too, and maybe lose a few pounds. Please let Exercising Values be your companion on the journey from pushing strollers to being there for their big moments. As always, I hope you savor the moments and reap the benefits of a job well done. Parenting remains the greatest job on Earth.
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