This morning, Liam, Atticus, and I woke up well before the sun rose to spectate a local sprint triathlon in our neighborhood. Earlier in the week while on our way to the pool, I mentioned to Liam that there would be a race on Sunday and the competitors would swim, bike and run. As we drove my the lake, I told him the competitors would start the race by swimming across the lake. His face immediately gave way to both surprise and awe that people would swim in one of the neighborhood lakes rather than the pool. In fact, he expressed concern that an alligator might try to eat them as they were swimming. As I eased his concern, I suggested that we come out to watch the race so he could learn more about this sport.
We live in a beautiful neighborhood, so I knew it would be a great way to start our Sunday. More importantly though, I wanted him to see other people besides his parents leading a healthy lifestyle. Because fitness is so important to me, it is something I want my children to embrace as well. I don’t, however, want to be the pushy mom forcing them to participate in organized sports because they’re important to me. Liam recognizes the importance of eating healthy and thankfully is an incredible eater. While he does often make faces about the artichokes, brussel sprouts, or broccoli that might be on his dinner plate, he graciously consumes them without too many antics. It doesn’t hurt that he knows if he finishes all of his healthy bites he gets to conclude dinner with his absolute favorite part- dessert. Like I said in a previous post, everything in moderation is key.
In the last year and a half, Liam has taken swimming lessons, participated in a youth soccer league, and is currently enrolled in gymnastics. He’s still exploring athletic pursuits but there’s plenty of time for him to discover his passions and pursue them to the degree he feels is appropriate. I recognize his passions might also include artistic pursuits, which would be equally wonderful. I think as parents it’s important to plant these little seeds and give them ample opportunities to pursue their interests. Healthy living for us isn’t a macrobiotic diet with restrictions. It’s about understanding what a healthy lifestyle looks like. Racing to the mailbox, climbing trees with gusto, eating an assortment of fruits and vegetables, and drinking water are all small ways Liam has embraced healthy living with a healthy outlook.
Now that Atticus is 8 months old, I frequently push him around on morning runs if I can get out the door before it gets too hot. Even for an infant, I think it’s important to demonstrate the importance of fitness. Before long he’ll be chasing Liam and I to the mailbox or around the gravel track at the playground. I hope that like his older brother he recognizes that a healthy balance of physical activity and well-rounded food choices set the tone for a more positive quality of life in the long run.
We all only get one chance to live this life. Live it beautifully, share it with the ones you love, and take it one day at a time!