Real Life Wellness: Monkey See, Monkey Do

By Bill Hemmer
Yesterday I was eating lunch, and I witnessed a very common sight. I watched a small child being punished for eating too much ice cream. Now, I have done the same thing many times with my children. Little kid’s eyes are always bigger than their stomach so that wasn’t so surprising. The surprising part was when the parent came back to the table with even more ice cream than the child and then went back for a second helping.

So, what kind of lesson does it teach that child? Is the lesson wait until you’re a parent and you can eat all the ice cream you want? Is the lesson that parents can just makeup the rules for the kids but not follow them themselves? Or finally, is the lesson parents don’t have to worry about eating 2 helpings of ice cream because you can’t get fat from ice cream as you grow older?

Of course, I don’t think any of these lessons are true. But what does that 9-year-old kid know? All they know is they couldn’t have anymore tasty ice cream but had to sit and watch their parent shove down 2 bowls.

So why am I writing about this stuff? Because I wanted to point out how these kinds of events really mold the future of your children. I think one of the most important jobs of parenting is consistency. What I mean is you need to be consistent with what you say and what you do. If you don’t want your children to eat too much ice cream, don’t sit and eat 2 bowls yourself!

I am not a perfect parent by any means, but I try every day to be consistent with what I teach my kids. Your kids are much smarter than you think. They notice everything. They might not understand why something doesn’t feel right but they know some things you really mean and other things are just lip service. You have to decide which battles you fight, and which battles just don’t mean that much to you.

One of the most important battles you can fight with your kids is good nutrition. If you teach your kids how to eat properly as they are growing up you can save them a lifetime of health problems, weight problems and social problems. Then combine good nutrition with physical fitness and you have set the stage for a joyful energetic life for that child. If they see you sticking to your guns on nutrition and fitness, then they will know you mean it and follow your lead for life.

I can’t tell you how many times my wife says to me, “you sound just like your Dad” or my mother-in-law tells my wife, “Your oldest daughter acts just like you did.” The lessons passed down from generation to generation are a very strong part of the future of our civilization. Don’t you want your little part of history to be a good one?

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