How we lead our lives not only impacts our own futures but those of our impressionable children too, as our actions and words subtly influence younger minds. Our beliefs and values, including those about our health and lifestyle, imperceptibly become theirs and therefore we have an enormous responsibility in shaping their ideas and behaviour.
If we drive when we could walk, make poor food choices too often, become too sedentary when we have the time to be active, sit with a computer surfing the web, instead of engaging with our family, we are continually sending the wrong message to our children. We are effectively portraying that we take the easiest route, the path of least resistance. Repeated exposure to the unhealthy behaviours of others make them the norm and therefore acceptable to us all, even though it is detrimental to our wellbeing. We are role models for the younger generation and we must take care that we set an example that we would like them to follow, encouraging daily exercise, persistence, effort and self discipline.
These thoughts came to me this week when witnessing the persistent act of one parent dropping off his children at school, parking on the yellow zig-zags right outside the school, even though his house is 100 metres away. When challenged about his evident disregard for the law and safety of other school children he responded that he didn’t care! Unbelievable! I feel sorry for his children, growing up missing out on the health benefits of walking to school.
Be aware of the effect our daily behavioural and lifestyle choices have on the vulnerable mentality of the young people all around us, and help them to cherish the values of daily movement and vital health.