We watch our children, but you know what, they also watch us! This has always been one of the most frightening parts about being a parent for me. They watch closely when we say please and thank you. They watch with little eyes and learn when we are kind to a stranger in need. Unfortunately, and this is the part that’s scary for me, they are also watching when we aren’t on our best behavior. They hear us yell at other drivers. They listen and learn all of our flimsy excuses when we skip going to church or turn our eyes away from a homeless beggar. Yes, children are always watching, and what they see isn’t always pretty.
I was out for a run this morning and came across many other people, who like me, were out enjoying the beautiful morning. At one point on Belmont Road I noticed a young woman and a child coming towards me. The woman was dressed for running, and the little girl, whom I assume was her daughter, was dressed in the same manner. The little girl, who was about five years old, was running in front of her mother and the smile on her face was absolutely radiant! The mother, for her part, was allowing her daughter to set the pace and gave her words of encouragement as they worked their way down the street.
When I passed, I gave the pair a “thumbs up” and a “way to go!” As I continued on, I was impressed by the willingness of the mother to take time out her precious “run time” to make an impression on her child. Then I started thinking about my runner friends and how almost all spend time with their children doing some sort of activity. Some run, some bike, some skate, some play basketball or hockey, but they are all encouraging their children to be active.
Perhaps more important than encouraging however, is the example they are setting for their children by being active themselves. By living and enjoying an active lifestyle they are teaching their children how valuable good health is, and giving them a lesson how to achieve it every time they go out for a run.
We watch our children, but you know what, they also watch us! Let’s take advantage of their curious eyes and give them something positive they can carry with them for the rest of their lives!