Written by Coach Steve R.
There are so many different things that we can do to help our children be healthy that it can sometimes be overwhelming! It could be sports, it could be riding bikes, it could be swimming, it could be a youth fitness class (see me if you have a kid that needs some fitness).
There are plenty of options out there, but the secret to success regarding your child’s health is having a process to operate in to find something that sticks.
The process we use isn’t other worldly or magical, it’s quite simple actually but, without the process, it is very easy to mindlessly sign-up your child up for stuff that becomes a burden for everyone.
Step 1: Define what “healthy”means for your child and cultivate a vision of health for them.
– Everything starts with a vision and the clearer that vision can be the better. It will help guide your decisions on where to start your child’s journey and steps to take along the way.
For us, we don’t look at health, in a singular dimension, i.e. physical health, etc.
We want our girls to be strong, brave, intelligent, independent, and God-fearing.
We consider these things in every decision we make about our girls.
For a long time our oldest girl, was quite reserved. She did not enjoy big classrooms or doing much of anything without Mom or Dad. So you can imagine, the concern we had of sending her off to school for her first day of Kindergarten.
However, no matter how this day went for T, we were going to walk it out and make sure she saw her first day of big girl school to the end..because being brave is important in life.
Well unbeknownst to me and my wife, T not only had a great day and made friends but she ended up wanting to play t-ball with her new friends! So despite, her mother and father’s former athletic prowess, all of our girls ended up playing sports because of social relationships not because we wanted them to!
Step 2: Create opportunities for your kid to live out the vision.
– If your kid’s vision is centered around sports, pick a sport and go! Get ready for trial and error LOL!
– If you kid loves the arts, pick one and get ready for trial and error!
This part isn’t about perfection and finding the “thing” and then just doing that forever. This part is about experiences, learning, and growing into the vision.
For us, once Tessa got involved in t-ball, that led to basketball and that led all the girls playing sports. Then we were playing soccer and soccer lead to….you get the point.
We grew from each experience and as sports became a bigger part of our life, we had to reevaluate our schedules and lives so we can make sure to not miss the mark on how our girls grow up to identify with health.
So for this iteration of the vision these are some things you will find us doing:
– Nightly scripture readings and weekly bible study.
– A regular cadence of visiting National Historic Sites for Junior Rangers.
– Workouts with Dad.
– Plenty of social interactions that have nothing to do with sports.
Our kids will continue to grow and change but if we have a clear vision and we set a strong foundation, it makes it easier to be adaptable as we live it out.
Step 3: Model the behaviors to the best of your ability.
Now this is the tough one but it is the most impactful.
We have to model the behaviors we want our kids to model, the earlier the better. The earlier we can become aware of this and do our best to do so, the deeper the roots will be in our kids.
The Simple Stuff: If our kids see us being active, they will be more susceptible to being active.
My girls grew up in the gym and just being a child in a gym (safely) they where climbing on boxes, jumping on boxes, pushing empty sleds, jumping over hurdles, hanging on bars…and guess what? Watching other people running around and doing “funny stuff” as Cori and Evie used to say.
And now, they have an exhausting desire to be outside doing ANYTHING.
There is a reason “Do as I say, not as I do.” Only works 4.71% of the time.
What our children see us do, carries much more weight than what we say.
The Not Simple Stuff: We have this responsibility in every way of our children’s health and we aren’t perfect, so how the hell are we supposed to pull this off???
Forgive me for projecting but that is how I felt shortly after Tessa, my oldest was born…as I held her and slept with her and watched my wife with her…
I realized how severely under-qualified I am for this responsibility.
I’m responsible for a human life???
I had to call God and tell him He made a mistake maybe…He told me no LOL.
So I had to go back to the drawing board. I mean I had been doing some internal work to sort through my health and my issues (newsflash, we all have them.) but this created an entirely different sense of urgency for me.
- I had to get myself right with God.
- I had to sort out trying to work out a relationship with my father, so maybe they could have a relationship.
- I realized my purpose was much bigger than making money and had to get oriented to that revelation.
- I had to sit in the Valley and face some more personal fears because if I can’t face my fears, how can I help my daughter face hers?
I could go on forever…I got some baggage, but the point is this: When we answer the question, “How am I going to pull this off?”
That’s the only answer.
We don’t know everything. We are not perfect. We will likely not be the model citizens for our kids we dream about in the fairytale world we spend too much time in. The good news is they only know us as Mommy and Daddy, they don’t know about or care about the stress about work, they just see how you deal with it. They don’t know or care about the financial stress in your life, they just see how you deal with it.
The relational issues, the emotional issues…so on and so forth. They don’t know, they just know how you deal with it and that is the imprint we leave.
So ironically, the better we work at taking care of ourselves, the better imagery our children we create for our kids to follow that path. If we couple that with a deliberate and clear vision for them within that…we can get it done, imperfectly.
Step 1: Define health and create the vision.
Step 2: Create opportunities to live out the vision.
Step 3: Model the behaviors you want for your child as best you can.
I am here if you need me.