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?
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
5 do’s and don’ts when interacting with someone going through a difficult time
8 things I want my daughters to know