On November 25th, I wrote about how my boyfriend’s seven year old son decided he wanted to be a runner. “The Kiddo,” as I refer to him here, ran 2.25 miles the week of Thanksgiving…his first race, then his first training run.
The Monday after Thanksgiving, The Kiddo even took his race bib to his gym teacher to tell him he ran in a race. The gym teacher awarded him extra credit and told him that was something to be proud of. I’m so glad his teacher rewarded this positive behavior because the more positive reinforcement kids get for being active, the more likely they are to stick with it and do it on their own.
Since Thanksgiving, the weather has gotten cold and the footing on the nearby roads and sidewalks have gotten slippery from snow showers here inMinnesota. Not wanting to risk a fall or injury, I haven’t taken “The Kiddo” on any runs with me.
Yesterday, when he arrived home from his mom’s house, he asked if I was done working out. Apparently his dad had told him not to disturb my workout when they arrived. I told him I was done. He had a sad look on his face. I asked him, “Why? Were you going to exercise with me?” He responded with, “Well, yeah.” Then he walked away.
I stood there amazed. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but this kid is awesome. Not only does he want to be a runner, but he wants to workout to a DVD in the living room with me.
Last night, Nate was telling me how “The Kiddo” was doing homework. There were pictures of presents on his worksheet and he needed to guess what would be in the boxes. One was a plain, square box and he guessed it was shoes. Now, this is a kid who hates shoe shopping. When Nate asked about his guess, he said something along the lines of, “You can get shoes for Christmas.” The conversation eventually morphed into The Kiddo saying he wanted running shoes “if he was going to be a runner.”
Here’s the thing, I’ve always known kids look at what the adults around them do. Children decide whether they want to do what they see adults doing or whether they want to avoid doing what they see. I’m so glad I’ve made the decision to live a healthier, more active life and that we encourage activity and trying new things.
The Kiddo’s other side of the family is comprised of adults who smoke, are inactive and eat poorly. He’s already told us he’ll never smoke, something both Nate and I are thankful for since neither of us has ever smoked.
It’s pretty impressive when a kid not only knows the difference between healthy and unhealthy life styles at such a young age, but actively chooses health. Even though he may not fully understand the affects of the choices he’s making now, the fact that he’s making the right choices makes me feel pretty proud of the environment we create for him.
Being a role model can be scary, but knowing that he’s following in our footsteps makes me more aware and more motivated to continue with the positive changes I’ve made and to continue making them.