the video camera is always on, part 5

Thank you for joining me for our final segment of The Video Camera is Always On. We’ve chatted about a lot of different areas where our children our watching (and mimicking us). In our first segment, we discussed how our kids are watching our habits and our faith, how we act, our humility, and our responses.

I expounded on the importance of emulating a strong faith to our kids in the second segment and included some tips on how to not only talk about our love for Jesus with our children, but also how they notice our love for Him through our actions.

In the third segment, I discussed how our kids are watching what priorities take precedence in our lives and the importance of what we allow into our minds. I offered resources for those topics.

Finally, in my fourth segment, I discussed how our children are watching as we interact with our spouse, along with some tips on how we can show our children a marriage worth mirroring. I also discussed how we should be mindful of how we react to those who have wronged us, especially in the presence of our children.

In today’s post, I’m adding two other critical ways we can set a good example for our kids. Healthy habits and how we dress.

In my first post, I referred to the time my oldest daughter mirrored her father’s addiction to condiments. This brings me to the all-important topic of modeling healthy habits for our kids. While we laugh about the condiment king and his condiment princess daughter now, it was definitely an eye-opener as to how our children mimic our everyday habits, even when we don’t realize it.

So how can we model and instill a healthy lifestyle?

Start early.

From the time my daughters were babies, we would take walks through the neighborhood. The double baby jogger stroller my mom bought me as a gift had more miles on it than my SUV will ever have, as we took jaunts through the neighborhood, walked down a steep two-mile hill to town, and back up again (did I mention I had the best arms ever in those days?). We packed special snacks, pointed out dogs, birds, airplanes, and pretty flowers along the way, and stopped a short distance from our house so the girls could walk along the “balance beam”, a short brick wall that lined the sidewalk. Those days were special days and provided exercise for me and fun playground time for the girls on the way back home.

Not only was I enjoying spending time with my daughters, but I was teaching them the importance of exercise.

Our children need to see us actively partaking in caring for the body the Lord gave us.

Make family-time exercise a priority.

There has rarely been a summer at our house when the girls haven’t stretched the badminton net across the backyard, pulled out the huge and awkward ping-pong table from the shed, kicked the soccer ball around the yard, or tossed the football with their dad. Our active schedule has regularly included family bike rides, batting practice at the playground, jogging, and hiking in the mountains.

By showing our children that family time is important, we show them that they are important. And by showing them that exercise can be fun, we reiterate a healthy lifestyle that can last throughout their lives.

Emulate healthy eating habits.

Our children will naturally gravitate toward sugary treats over broccoli and cauliflower. It’s important to teach (and model!) to our kids healthy eating habits. If we tell our children to eat spinach and fruit and we ourselves are eating donuts and cake, it’s highly likely (as the saying goes) that they’ll do as we do, not as we say.


Another area where our children are always watching is in the way we dress.

Are we clean with good hygiene?

Do we take pride in our appearance – not vainly – but by dressing appropriately for the occasion? While there are jokes galore about wearing pajamas to Walmart, looking like a slob shouldn’t be our goal.

Are we modest? God made our bodies beautiful and amazing. Arms that give loving hugs. Legs that can run fast. Hands that can create art. Feet that bear our weight and take us where we need to go. Unfortunately, immodesty has become the norm in our culture. We need to reiterate to our daughters that we are not valued by how much skin we show.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating for a wardrobe that consists only of baggy turtlenecks and ankle-length full skirts. What I am advocating for is attire that is pleasing to the Lord. Skin tight, cleavage-bearing, super-short shorts don’t fit the bill. We need to teach our daughters that our worth is in more than our bodies.

Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think and focus on “what is whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable”. When we wear immodest clothing, are we really thinking and focusing on purity and treating our bodies with respect because they are temples?

And we need to teach our sons that girls are worth more than their bodies.

Dads, this is where you are especially important. Your daughters need to know you love them for them. For their silly personality, for their creative mind, for their intellect, their kindness, compassion, and the way they care for those less fortunate. They need to know their value is not in how skinny they are or how few zits they have. Dads, your daughters need you to be a gentleman to both them and to their mom. They need you to emulate how a man should treat women.

And dads, while I’m picking on you…your sons need you to model to them how they should treat women. Not as sex objects, not in a gawking way with inappropriate comments. They need you to show them that you value a woman who values herself.

There is nothing wrong with cute fashions (I have a closetful of them myself), but we need to be mindful that not every fashion that gains popularity and is touted by the masses is pleasing to God.

Our children are always recording. They are learning from us. From our actions. From our words. From our priorities, and from the way we live our lives.

Being a parent is far from easy. But with the Lord’s help and constant and consistent prayer, we can raise our children in a way that honors and pleases the Lord.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

how to build close bonds with your kids

the importance of avoiding false teaching

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

Movie Monday: Run the Race

5 do’s and don’ts when interacting with someone going through a difficult time

5 things moms need

8 things I want my daughters to know

outside-the-box homeschool ideas

the video camera is always on part 1

Welcome to my new series about the importance of being good role models for our children. It’s not always easy, and we definitely won’t do it perfectly.

But we aren’t after perfection. Rather, we are after trying our best to raise our children for the Lord with His tender, gracious, and patient assistance. We are striving for grace, humility, and forgiveness. For kindness, understanding, and patience.

According to the Barna Group, “What we build into a child’s life prior to the age of 13 represents the moral and spiritual foundation that defines them as individuals and directs their choices for the remainder of their life. Garbage in, garbage out…”

Let those words sink in.

While we will still make a difference in our children’s life long after they are 13, those first formative years, according to the quote above, are the most critical in laying the groundwork.

When we were first married, I bought my husband a video camera for Christmas. Back then, video cameras were much bigger than they are today. In fact, this video camera was the size of the kind you see in movie studios. After we had children, we found ourselves being the only ones with an oversized camcorder at birthday parties and playdates. The video camera served us well until it died and we were forced to buy a newer more compact model.

These days, we simply record with our cell phones. Smaller, more efficient, and always at the ready.

It didn’t matter if our video camera was two feet long or hand-held size, or built into our cell phones: it recorded with the simple touch of a button. Our children are like video cameras – they record what goes on around them, whether they’re teens, toddlers, or somewhere in between.

Our kids are watching our habits.

My husband Lon is addicted to condiments. He loves ketchup, salsa, sour cream, salad dressing, and especially mayonnaise. It’s not uncommon for my condiment king to have a condiment as his main meal with a side of hamburger. Forget the dream home or the new shiny Dodge truck. Nope, large barrels with spigots continually full of a variety of condiments would be Lon’s dream come true.

One day our oldest daughter, Sunshine, sat down to eat dinner. I watched as she poured piles of ketchup, sour cream, and salsa on her taco. Because I like everything plain, such behavior is utterly gross to me.

Like father, like daughter. Sunshine had grown up with a condiment king father and now she had become the condiment princess. Our kids model our behavior whether we realize it or not. They model our behavior – the good, the bad, and the ugly. The healthy and the unhealthy habits. And just like a video camera, they record the world and the examples around them, including those set my their parents.

Our kids are watching our faith

At the Easter service at church, we sat behind a family with two kids. The mom and kids appeared excited to be at church and eager to partake in the service. The dad? Not so much. There could be a million reasons why the dad’s body language showed a lackluster interest in being in church that day, and I won’t try to interpret the reason because that’s not the purpose of this post. However, what is the purpose is that the son, the younger of the two children, at about 12 years old, continually watched the dad.

He looked to his dad at every turn. When we sang, when we prayed, when we listened to the sermon, and when we stood up and filed out of the sanctuary.

When we show the value of our faith in our lives, it sets a Godly example for our kids of what is important.

Our kids are watching how we react.

How did we react when someone was unkind to us? When a fellow driver cut us off in traffic? When a friend betrays us? When our boss or coworker treat us badly?

Again, we are not after perfection. But we are after setting a Godly example. Kids mimic what they see.

Our kids are watching our humility.

How do we react when we are the recipients of harsh words or something hateful? When we make a mistake? When we fail to curb our temper? Our children are watching our humility and our willingness (or lack thereof) to admit to a mistake. It’s especially critical that when we, as parents, make a mistake affecting our children that we apologize.

Our kids are watching our responses.

Last year was an interesting year to say the least. While most are happy that 2020 is in the rear-view mirror, many, including myself are facing some concern as to what 2021 may bring. While it is easy to fear and become anxious over the many frightening changes our current year is bringing, we as parents have to remember that in the midst of that anxiety and fears, our children are watching how we respond.

It is truly only by God’s grace that in the midst of troubling times, we can turn to and rest in Him. It is only by spending time in prayer and in His Word that we can turn from the troubling issues at hand and keep our eyes on Him.

Our children are watching how we respond to all the craziness of our current times. They are watching when we turn to God, when we pray, when we immerse ourselves in His Word, and when we cry out to Him.

Next week, I’ll expound on the above topics and provide resources to help us for all of those times when the red “recording” light is on and our children are watching.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the video camera is always on, part 2

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

Movie Monday: Fearless Faith

28 verses for uncertain times

the importance of Christmas

you might be a writer if…10 ways to know

6 ways to stick with homeschooling (when you want to give up)

6 ways to encourage other moms