24Nov, 2014

Your Children Will Become Who You Are; So Be Who You Want Them To Be

Whether you are a mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, or guardian, we are tasked with the important responsibility of guiding and nurturing the children of our future, whether we chose it or like it or not.  We always say that you are a reflection of the 5 people that you spend the most time with, and children are no different.  They mirror what they see, and that makes it more crucial that we influence their lives in the most positive way possible.

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There is no question that children today are not getting enough exercise, and are not eating nutritiously.  The childhood obesity epidemic is spreading rapidly, and this generation may be the first where children may not outlive their parents.  So, who is to blame?  Is it little Sally and Nick’s problem that they are fat, and they are fat because they won’t eat their vegetables? No.  It is not.  It is OUR fault. Period.

With all other social factors such as income level, and access to grocery stores aside, our children are obese because it is OUR fault.  Yes, the big food companies are being sneaky with their advertisements, misleading food labels, and toxic ingredients.  Sadly, that is what our society has become and it will take a lot to change that, but do we as parents just put up our white flags and give in?

When babies are born, they aren’t born with preferences for sugary, salty, and or fattening foods.  They eat what they are given.  Sure, they will make a face when something bitter, spicy or sour touches their tongue, but they do not inherently know that they should rage war against mom and dad when broccoli is served on their plate.  They do not inherently know that dinner should be chicken fingers and fries, white pasta with tomato sauce from a jar, or grilled processed cheese sandwiches.

I am Chinese, and like most Chinese households, I ate what was prepared.  Not what was prepared for the children, but simply what was prepared for the entire family.  Sure, I was never forced to eat everything, but if I wanted to eat, my dinner came from a choice of what was prepared for the entire family.

In no way am I saying that obese children do not and will never come from Chinese households.  Heck, I am probably the most useless Chinese person there is.  I can’t read or write, and can only speak if you can understand a few Chinese words mixed in with English.  I am Canadian.  I’ve lived here since I was 6, so you can pretty much say that I am very well Westernized.  With that said, I was shocked to find that there were families where children grew up not eating the same meal as their parents.  This discovery wasn’t made until I started allowing my daughter to spend time over at their friends houses.  (I guess I lived in a pretty tightly sealed bubble)   She also couldn’t understand why the parents were eating steak and vegetables, while her and her friend were given hot dogs.  “All we had were hot dogs.  For dinner mom!  I’m hungry”

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With the ever growing disconnect between how we get our foods from farm to market, and big food industries having such a big influence on what we eat and how we eat, it is so much more important now, that we teach our children how to eat nutritiously.  With that said, teaching is one thing, but living it is another.  We can preach until the cows come home, but if we don’t expose them to eating whole, nutritious meals, they will never form that good habit.

Look, I understand.  Not all children will eat a salad with grilled chicken and if you are interpreting this message as such, you are getting this all wrong.  What I am saying is that if you can take the time to prepare a nutritious meal for yourself, do the same for your children.  It does not take any more effort, and in fact, it takes less.  We teach our children to have good manners, and to have caring and compassionate hearts so that they can grow up to be model citizens of the world, we must now also teach them how to nourish their bodies, and that must first begin with ourselves.

Children are like sponges.  They soak up everything that they are exposed to.  They become who WE are, so it is OUR responsibility to BE who we want THEM to be.  We may never win the battle with the big food companies, but we can start by equipping our children with the knowledge and know-hows to make the best decisions for their own future.

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way” — Whitney Houston 

XO — YL

Posted by Dan Go | in Markham Boot Camp | No Comments

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