Parents that _____________ have kids that _______________. Have money, do drugs, drink, smoke, go to church – one could insert many interchangeable words there. Here’s another one: Exercise.
The other day I took my kids and nephew to the park. It was a Mr. Mom outing with a 9 month old, two 6 year olds, and an 11 year old. To enjoy our mild Las Vegas summer temps (only in the mid-nineties that day), we decided to walk there – about a 10 minute stroll. My daughter rode her bike, her newly blonde-highlighted hair flowing, heat pumping, and good-time-having self beat the rest of the gang there. My nephew frantically scooted a Razor scooted behind at a distant second. My 6 year old, being the competitive lad he is, raced behind on foot and once he realized it was useless to try keeping up he proceeded to drop down and do some push ups for good measure. “How’s this Dad?” he yelled to me as I was a little further behind him pushing the baby in the stroller. I gave him an “attaboy” for his hard work – my 9 month old belted out with an excited squeal and a raspberry, which I’m pretty sure was her own way of affirming the good job her brother had just demonstrated. We want on our way with my son dropping down to do push ups every so often, eventually ending up at the park for some soccer, frisbee, tag, bike riding, and fun.
This morning I was thinking about it. My kids see me exercising fairly often, so that is good. But I thought about the scenario if I had continued the way I was living several years ago. The “Dad gets home from work, he’ll have a beer, we’ll all have pizza, watch TV, and be happy” scenario, which was a regular occurrence. Two different images set for my kids: Dad drinks beer a lot & Dad works out a lot – neither one really set out to deliberately influence my little ones, but you have to figure each one would and does. I’m willing to bet that the doing family push ups will work out better in the end then the “get Dad a beer” scenario.
Influence is a powerful thing and extremely powerful to children. I’m not trying to say I am Super Dad, am perfect, or have all the answers. But I will say that I am learning to be a better influence and surround myself with better influences. Reading, exercising, giving, complementing, eating healthy – it all makes a difference. Often times our kids are a direct reflection of what and who we are.
Enjoy yourself today and strive to be a great influence to those around you.