Through Our Children’s Eyes: How Fitness Shapes Positive Values
Our children watch us closely: what we say, what we do, and how we act. And by doing so, they learn a lot about values without us even telling them. What messages are we giving children when we exercise on a regular basis? The list is endless, but here are a few top values.
Limits and Structure. Kids do well with routines; they actually thrive on them. Without them, I have seen that kids lack motivation, become lazy, and have trouble figuring out how to use their time efficiently and productively.
Commitment and Dedication. Values are difficult concepts to show to children. We have to follow through with what we say, otherwise, kids won’t take our words seriously. If our children see us waking up early to workout or see us in our exercise gear so we can go to the gym after taking them to school, then they are seeing us having commitments to completing tasks, being active, and bettering ourselves every day.
Persistence and Patience. Change occurs slowly and in small steps. Personal-training clients and class participants are reminded that building muscle mass, sculpting physique, and losing weight takes months and years of consistent hard work. This is true of anything worthwhile in life; the hard work pays off to enjoy the benefits.
Respect. Maintaining a healthy spirit, mind and body through exercise allows children to respect themselves and respect others. They can learn to not only respect their parents but coaches and other authority figures they encounter throughout their lives. A metro Atlanta lacrosse organization (Atlanta Youth Lacrosse, www.ayllax.com) frequently reminds the kids that a big part of success as a lacrosse player is having strong sportsmanship and honoring the game.
Have Fun in Life. As simple as this seems, a surprisingly large number of people I have come across in my therapy practice and personal-training business don’t make time to enjoy life. Taking fun-filled exercise breaks throughout the day sharpens our minds, relaxes our bodies, and recharges us to tackle life’s daily stressors!
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