I couldn’t believe it. There’s no way it could be right. So I double-checked the math.
9 + 2 + 11 + 3 … plus … carry the … divide by 4.2 … equals… 15. FIFTEEN!
I was right the first time… but I wished I wasn’t.
We had completed a little sugar experiment in our house. Much to my dismay, on a normal healthy day of eating, we had still given Gigi, who was four at the time, 15 teaspoons of sugar (63 grams). That accounted for 20% of her total calories for that day!
Fast forward four years and she has regular school lunches, birthday gatherings, and a bunch of other nutrition-wrecking disruptions in her healthy lifestyle.
So what does all this mean? A couple things.
First, it revealed how sneaky sugar is and we have to be vigilant in keeping it in check.
More importantly, it was a good reminder to double down on helping our children establish healthy habits while they’re young… and the younger they start, the better.
What’s singlehandedly the best way to help them with this? Model it for them.
Behavior is caught, not taught.
“Behavior is caught, not taught” is a familiar phrase and one I believe to be mostly true.
As I wrote about in The Body Tithe Devotional, when our youngest son Silas was barely three, there were days when literally the first thing he said was, “Daddy, ready to beast up?”
Why would he say this? It was certainly not because I had told him he needed to workout. It was because he had seen me workout almost daily, often times joining in on the fun.
When I’m in charge of breakfast, Gigi will ask to make a protein shake or a Shakeology or a smoothie of some kind (even asking if she can add recipes to The Smoothie Wizard). Why? Because she has seen us use the blender countless times for these very same drinks.
Last year, Gigi embarked on her first 5k training program and then ran it later that year. Why? Because she had seen Mommy (my fitness hero) train for and run too many races to count. Kids exercise when you exercise.
I could go on.
In a way, this is wonderful news. We can take the pressure off of ourselves for having to sit them down and teach and explain and …
If there’s a drawback, it’s that learning by seeing goes both ways, for the good and the bad. So when I consistently justify going out to get my Mexican food fix, I can’t be surprised to see the kids asking to go out to eat all the time.
Or when the children see Mommy routinely stop at McDonalds for a sweet tea, it shouldn’t be a shocker to find them begging for sugary drinks.
However, I think getting the good and the bad is a fair tradeoff. It keeps us accountable. It helps us be healthier if we know our kids are watching and we all want to bring up healthy, wise children.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
We can’t give away what we don’t own. We need to be wise in our own body stewardship if we want our children to be the same.
And by the strength and grace of God, we can be. We can rely on His power at work within us to deliver on His promises. Then, when He does and our kids imitate our healthy behavior, we can give glory to our Father in heaven.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. –Matthew 5:16