Mark it on the calendar. Put it in the history books. Anna asked to go running twice, not once but twice, this past week. For a girl who doesn’t believe in exercise or sweating and claims soccer is too much running, this is a miracle! Now, she has to look good while she’s out for her jog so she changes into an exercise outfit complete with spandex capris and her pink lip gloss. Gotta look good while you’re jogging, you know!
But, for her to ask, regardless of how long she runs or how cute she looks, I am amazed and pleased! I never would have guessed, actually. I don’t think exercising has ever really been her thing as she was one chunky baby who never crawled because she was too lazy or too content to move! (love her)…. But, she’s changing- always changing.
Why the sudden interest in jogging? It is no coincidence that the first time she went jogging was right after I got back from a jog myself. Now, she’s strong enough and independent enough to go outside by herself too. Walking the dog, riding her bike, or jogging down the cult-de-sac is something she wants to do by herself. When children see you leading an active lifestyle and they hear and see you talk about exercise, it influences the way they view exercise. It’s not something I’m imposing on her but she’s finally choosing to want to walk, run, ride, or hike now (something I never would have guessed a couple years ago!).
Just like if your children hear and see you drinking mountain dew all the time, they naturally do that too. Or, they see you smoke, they end up smoking too. (children ages 13-21 are twice as likely to become smokers if parents smoke). Or, they hear and see you fighting with your spouse, they argue and fight things out with their peers too. What is the norm at your house?
Recently, I had a good girl disclose a lot about what’s been going on with her family the past couple months. It’s pretty sad with mom leaving the family for another man, and then dad getting a new girlfriend too. (and, that’s the short, pretty version). What’s most disturbing is something she explained to me as she defended dad. While mom’s new man has been to prison, “dad has only gone to jail once” (for domestic violence). This was a matter-of-fact statement as she has normalized going to jail. Mom has been to jail too, of course. How does a child not absorb this? I worry about her future.
Children are taking it all in, the good, bad, and the ugly. Whether it’s a conversation or simple, every day observations, they’re living through osmosis. No one is perfect and we all have our bad habits. But, as parents and adults, we have to be careful. We must be aware of the messages we are sending and the energy we are putting off because they’re getting it. They’re getting it a lot more than parents ever realize (because I hear a lot more than parents would ever guess at school)! We need to permeate our home and atmosphere with the choices we want our kids making.
So, let’s pause, think, and choose our lifestyle and habits wisely. Little eyes are watching; little ears are listening.