In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to share some of the lessons that I teach to my young sons about their health both through my words and by example. The great thing about these lessons is that we’re never too old to start using them.
1. Good food is extremely important. My boys regularly enjoy fruits, vegetables, healthy grains and meats and remain energetic even while consistently active. It’s vital that we all learn how good our bodies can feel when properly fueled. As my kids like to say “healthy food gives you power!”
2. Certain foods should be avoided whenever possible. Even at a young age kids can learn the basics of nutrition and reading labels. Specifically, to avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup and other artificial ingredients that have been well documented as having a negative impact on health. Sometimes as important as what we eat, is what we don’t.
3. Exercise is vital for all of us. As kids we love to run around, try different sports and have fun while being active. As we get older and have more “things” to do, we tend to have less time for activities and may even dread exercise, causing an obvious decline in health. I encourage the boys to stay active and impress upon them that this is something that should be done throughout their lifetime. There is a sense of pride in crossing the finish line of a race and I find it a great success to hear my sons ask “can we run with you too daddy?”
4. Your mind is a muscle too. Your thoughts are crucial to your health. I teach my boys to be confident in themselves, avoid negativity and to not give up. Lessons such as these help us all to hold a positive sense of self worth, respect others and motivate us to get things done without complaining or blaming others.
5. The importance of balance in our lives. No one can be “on” 100% of the time and it’s important to understand that there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy foods that aren’t super healthy or to relax in front of the TV instead of climbing a mountain. Learning this early I believe helps us all to enjoy life more.
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