It’s gratifying to watch your children make good decisions regardless of the subject. But because of all that I have been through over the past couple of years in relation to my weight, nutrition and health it’s especially important to me when I see visible, tangible evidence that the life I am living in front of them now is making a difference.
What leads me to share this realization was a birthday pool party we attended for my son Noah’s buddy Caleb. About 20 kids, and their parents, convened at the community pool for a fun time of playing and swimming. Kids seem to have endless energy even in the staggering hot days of summer. Even though the pool water wasn’t cool, it was still refreshing.
As I focused special attention on my 17-month-old son Jaxon and my husband Mike kept his eyes on Noah doing cannonball jumps with his friends, I took in a deep sigh and let it out. I was feeling reflective.
Now I will be the first to admit that losing nearly 100 pounds doesn’t qualify me as a swimsuit model. I will never be that. But I am not letting life pass me by because of self-consciousness anymore. I was thoroughly able to enjoy a wonderful afternoon at a pool party with my family and friends. And that’s a great realization.
After the swimming part of the festivities was over we all moved under the covered pavilion for the gift opening and refreshments. THIS is where my pride over my kids’ decisions kicked in. And this is when I realized that so much of what we do as adults and parents is “caught” rather than “taught.”
I talk a lot around our home about healthy food choices. It’s become a way of life for us. But when faced with all the sugary sweet juices and drinks that were available to the party I wouldn’t have been a bit surprised if Noah had opted for a can of soda or a packet of some sweet-cherry-burst juicy drink.
But I watched as he made his drink selection. He rifled through the cooler filled with all those temptations and retrieved—of all things—a bottle of water! I was thrilled. Because I know that water replenishes the body and there’s just no better choice when it comes to beverages. Drinking water is something that we do a lot around our house. And it was neat to see that it’s become not only a habit for him; but now it is actually a preference.
Not long after that beaming-with-pride moment for my eldest, the hostess of the party brought me a small bowl of ice cream for the baby. However, I also had brought a little bowl of oranges which I had sitting on the table.
Now I wouldn’t have been a bit surprised if Jaxon had lunged for the ice cream. But instead, he passed up the ice cream in favor of the oranges. A wise choice for a 17-month-old. And again I was proud. Sure, he’s tasted ice cream before. (I always say—life isn’t prison it’s OK to enjoy a treat once in a while.) But because fruit is our “sweet treat of choice” at home he has decided that a nice little bowl of oranges is his preference to a bowl of ice cream.
I know these two examples may seem simple. But one of the things I most want to do is to set an example for my kids that will enable them to make better choices than I previously had all my life; and it seems like that’s happening. Children are sponges. They soak up the good and the bad. And this was evidence to me that sometimes good habits are caught more than taught.
I didn’t force my kids to pick the healthier options. They chose them on their own. It was a great accountability for me to keep on doing the right thing in front of these two little sets of eyes who don’t miss a thing!