I was listening to a great parenting message by Shaun Nepstad a couple of weeks ago and he got into something that really stuck with me.
I’m not a gym rat by any means. Truthfully, I don’t know the technical names for most of the equipment, so that’s basically the level I’m at. I am familiar with basic exercise and nutrition, though, and I would gladly join anyone for a 30-minute Core Inferno workout. Through the years, there have been times where I have consulted trainers or used video workouts to better understand how to stay fit.
There are two things I’ve seen that a good trainer does that translate so perfectly to the raising of our kids every single day of their lives:
1. A good trainer does not tell just you what to do without instruction or guidance. They first model the exercise, showing exactly what they expect and talking you through each portion of it. Then, after watching them do it, you get the chance to try. At that point, you copy what you have seen. Even if the exercise was done incorrectly, you copy what your trainer showed you.
Our kids copy what we show them! Tough questions: do I exaggerate when I speak? Do I make dishonest statements to get ahead? Do I speak rudely to my wife or other people? Am I lazy and short-tempered while asking my kids to be the opposite.
We must be so aware of the things we do and the attitudes we present, no matter how small we think they are. As our children breathe our spiritual air, they will act out our habits, attitudes, and words. We may look at them and say, “Where did you learn that??!?!” The best answer is sometimes right in the mirror.
2. A trainer is also never hesitant or afraid to correct our form when working on an exercise. The reason for this is very powerful and applies deeply to our parenting… bad form causes injury. Lifting a weight incorrectly or at too heavy an amount has seen many muscles get twisted, strained, and wrecked.
Have you ever been somewhere in public with your children and they’re acting… well, like you cannot believe?! This may just be me, but have you also felt reluctant, at least for a moment, to discipline them? I’ve asked myself things like, “What will these other shoppers think?” or “What if this is embarrassing?”
In disciplining our kids, what we ignore, we excuse.
In the gym as in life, bad form causes injury and we cannot be timid to correct it. Poor character brings all kinds of trouble for a maturing person and as parents, we have the chance to shape something better. By holding back our correction, we are allowing conduct, behaviors, and attitudes to continue that will hurt our children as they grow into adults. This applies both in public and at home- what we ignore, we encourage. Our great responsibility is to train our children by gently correcting their form, then praising them when they succeed.
As parents, we may not be workout or gym pros, but in the end that does not matter nearly as much as being expert trainers with our kids. Showing them how to live well will give them a guideline for living well. Lovingly correcting them as they make mistakes will teach them right from wrong and consequences for their actions. With these thoughts in mind, we can be well on the way to raising great kids who will one day raise great kids of their own!