If I were to ask any parent out there what was more important to them, their car or their kids, I have a feeling that 100% would look at me as if I were crazy and then would answer “my kids of COURSE.”
I wouldn’t expect anything else. I would however have to question some of the evidence we sometimes see that may be contrary to the answer given.
Most of us take great care of our cars. We keep them clean both inside and out. We would not DREAM of trashing our cars or filling our gas tanks with anything but good fuel. Why? Because if we did the car would not run properly and would likely quit on us pretty quickly.
Do we always regard our children in this same way? Granted most of us give our kids a bath every day, but are we keeping their insides clean? How often do you feed your kids boxed, processed, chemical-laden and fat-filled garbage because it is faster and cheaper and easier? How many times a month do you swing through a fast food joint and feed “food” to your kids that can sit on your shelf for years without rotting?
Would you fill your car’s tank with sugar water? Of course not! What would happen? The sugar would ruin the engine. Do we think it is any better to pump our kids with sugar water? Soda, fruit drinks, concentrated sugar-filled juices and more are regular staples in the diets of most children in this country. Do we ever stop to think of what that sugar water and other bad fuels do to their little engines? Diabetes rates in children are climbing, as are obesity rates. Is it because we are fueling them with fresh veggies and fruits and lean proteins and things we prepare ourselves at home? I think we all know the answer to that one. How in the world can we take such good car of a car and blatantly disregard the well-being of our most precious gifts?
Our children are worth far more than anything else we are responsible for so make the decision today to start caring for them with even more care than we do our cars. When you make the decision to take a stand and start taking better control of your kids’ health, it can be tough at first if your kids are used to the junk. When we did it four years ago, I heard from so many family members that I was cruel and how could I deprive my kids of the childhood staples of donuts and Coke and Twinkies? The travesty!!!!!! Some actually likened it to child abuse!
So here we are- four years later- living in a home where, unless it is a special function or party a few times per year, soda does not enter the house. The snack cabinet has ZERO sugary treats and the fridge is always filled with fresh fruit. There are no fast food burgers or nuggets nor the first sign of a snack cake. I know many of you are wondering how the children who still live at home are doing. Take a look at these photos….. Connor is 16 and Reed is 13.
Do they look like the lack of junk has hurt them in ANY way? Do they look like kids who are suffering ill effects from the lack of processed garbage in our home? Of course not! Our two boys who are still at home are happy and healthy and thriving and are outstanding cross-country runners. We took them to a 5k with us one day just as a family outing, and they developed a love of running. It has grown and we have taught them the proper way to fuel their engines before a race or even practice. Connor has seen vast improvements in his times this year due in part to his stronger focus on good nutrition and proper fueling.
The point of showing my kids is not to brag on their running accomplishments, (well okay- maybe I like to brag on them just a little) but to show that when you make the healthy changes, the effects on your kids can be pretty big. Connor lettered in cross-country this year as a junior. Would this have happened if the whole family had not decided to get healthy and start taking better care of our engines? Likely not.
ENGINES DO NOT RUN ON JUNK! REMEMBER THAT! Just like a car that is not filled with the right kind of fuel can sputter and stall, your kids can become tired and lethargic and sedentary when you are not putting good fuel in their tanks. It can also effect their schoolwork.
As it relates to car maintenance, another thing we have to make sure we do is actually be sure to drive them. If a car just sits up, it is bad for the engine and can cause problems. Would we not think our kids need to move and use their muscles and engines too? Why do we allow our kids to be so sedentary and spend their such a large part of their lives playing video games and texting on their smart phones?
Don’t get me wrong, my son Connor loves his video game console, just like most teenage boys, and yes I let him play it when he wants to do so. He also runs 15-20 miles per week. BALANCE. Your kids do not have to be runners, but find something they enjoy that gets their bodies moving and keeps them from living a sedentary lifestyle. Encourage them to play a sport or just walk around the neighborhood with friends. GET THEM MOVING.
Make sure your kids get proper fuel and care that they need and deserve. We do it for our cars without even thinking twice. It should be even more important for this to be second nature with our kids.
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