I was traveling this weekend for two half marathons. They were in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The first race (the one in Arkansas) was a small race offering a 5K, half and full marathon. On the morning of the race it was interesting to see the number of children participating in the race. At first I thought…Isn’t this great that the family is doing a 5K together–teaching their children about living a healthy life style? But then as we got going and we reached the turn around point for the 5K, I was surprised by just how many of the families did not take the turn around but continued on to complete the half marathon and one father and son even completed the full! The next day I was in Tulsa and saw many parents running the half marathon with their young children. A friend of mine ran the half with her teenage daughter.
This really made me reflect back on my life with my daughter. As she was growing up, I was not concerned with my health nor was I interested in teaching my daughter about living a healthy active lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to teach her many things and knew that she was watching me. But I did not realize how some of my passive behaviors were being received until it was too late. By the time I realized the importance of engaging in a healthy and active lifestyle, she had already developed may of the negative habits I had exhibited and now she is not concerned with hearing what I have to say. It is definitely a regret I have.
I am now operating on the premise that she is still watching, even at the age of 23, and will one day realize that being active and healthy matters. I do know that I can share information in small doses and when asked. I know if I push she will back off. So I do my thing and share as appropriate and hope that the light bulb goes off in her head sooner than it did for.
Lesson to all you parents: Engage your kids in active healthy habits and make it fun.