We all know that children model their parents’ actions. Kids follow their guardians’ lead and example by closely watching, then emulating what they’ve seen. My girls will bust out with exact phrases I use (that most young children would never say). They make facial expressions, or hand gestures that I know they’ve learned from me. It’s like having a miniature version of yourself around (which can definitely have it’s downfalls!). Sometimes all you can do is laugh. But what if you purposely DON’T want your children to do what you do? Then it becomes a “Do as I say, not as I do” situation. This is extra tricky, because deceiving your offspring is not an easy task!
There are many things that parents do that fall into the category of ‘please don’t copy me’. It could be smoking, swearing, having bad manners, saying sarcastic comments, body shaming, etc. – the list is endless.
Taste the Rainbow of Fruits and Veggies
Here’s a fact that I’m not proud of… I eat very few fruits and vegetables. It’s not because I’m lazy or just don’t want to. It’s because I truly do not like the taste. Unfortunately, I grew up not eating these healthy foods. I’d love nothing more than to be a salad girl, honestly, I would! But after not eating something my entire life, I simply cannot get my taste buds to change their minds.
Now, without a doubt, this is something I’ve tried to hide from my daughters. At this point, they really have no idea that I’m not a healthy eater. And, so far, it hasn’t been a major issue. Both of my girls, ages 8 and 5, love nearly all fruit, and eat salad with dinner almost every night. I have worked very hard to make this dream of mine a reality. I’ve pretended to eat foods I personally don’t like. I’ve bent the truth when they ask where my fruits or veggies are, by saying things like, “Oh, mommy already ate all of hers.”
I’ve also been made fun of my entire life for the fact that I don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. Family, friends, coworkers, and new acquaintances have all mocked my food choices. Obviously, besides the health reasons, this is not something I want for my children either. So, I do whatever I need to in order to encourage them to make the healthiest choices possible. I want them to ‘do as I say, not as I do’, because I want better for them than myself. Since having my girls, I have become a better eater, so they have also made a positive impact on me too (in more ways than one).
The Greatest Wealth is Good Health
It’s not that I am a completely unhealthy person. I do eat a few vegetables (although, admittedly not the healthiest ones), and I love fruit smoothies. Our family buys organic, whole grain, natural, or fresh products as much as possible. While at the store, I scan merchandise with the healthy foods app on my phone, comparing items and looking for the more nutritious options. We try to avoid, or at least limit, processed, sugary, unnatural products. I’ve really tried to instill in my children the need for the best foods to keep our bodies running smoothly, while simultaneously trying not to give them any eating issues. This balance is not easy to accomplish, for any parent, however.
I know my kids will eventually figure out the truth about my eating habits. Hopefully by that point, their own taste buds and preferences will be in place enough so that it won’t matter. I pray that I’ve set them up for a healthy life in all aspects, and that they will continue to eat nutritious foods as they grow. I beg that they will do as I say, and not as I do, because the greatest wealth is having good health.