How about those Habits?
Just recently I read a book by James Clear called Atomic habits. What a good read. Anyway, if I’m being brutally honest with you, I starting reading it with the ‘popular’ notion of becoming a fitter, healthier, more put together version of myself afterwards. I was determined that I would finally be on the road to having it all figured out. That I would finally find that balance between, working, mothering, ‘wife-ing’, exercising and the list goes on.
Needless to say, that was not the case. Although it did prove to be a helpful book with so many things in it to learn. I still don’t have it all together and I probably never will; and quite frankly I’m very ok with that. That’s just life right? It’s an ongoing journey, with new challenges every day. One of the biggest take backs from that book, though, came as quite a surprise to me. You see, I realised that as parents, we play such an incredibly vital role in shaping our children’s future, simply by exposing them to and instilling healthy habits in them, to set them up for success.
According to the dictionary, one of the definitions of the word habit is; “an acquired mode of behaviour that has become nearly or completely involuntary”. So what if we could instil healthy, respectful, generous, loving, caring, kind, confident, the list goes on, involuntary behaviour in our children from the get-go. Instead of, like me, having to break certain unhealthy habits or trying to completely build new healthy habits, at an older age, what if we set a sound foundation for them from a young age, from which to build from.
It’s lead me to do some introspection. What habits am I exposing my child to currently? Do I want my child to have a love relationship with their food, eat instinctively, or do I want them to count their calories with each meal? Do I want my child to look in the mirror and love every part of themselves or do I want them to have a rocky body image? Do I want my child to have a love for reading and gaining knowledge or do I want them to lounge on the coach and rather watch television all day? Do I want my child to be adventurous and outdoorsy or do I want them to miss out on the beauty of the world because they are stuck behind a screen? Do I want my child to speak life into and love over everyone he comes across or do I want him to be inward-facing, forgetting to even acknowledge those around him? Do I want my child to have a zest for life or do I want him to be constantly facing self-doubt, guilt and self-pity?
You see children learn through modelled behaviour, with their biggest models being the people they are exposed to the most: parents, teachers, grandparents, nannies, au pairs etc. You might have even heard it said that, “children do what you do, not what you say”. It’s frustrating but oh so true. So how about those habits? What are we teaching our children with the habits that we currently have? How can we change our behaviour to model the future, that we so desperately yearn for, to our children?
Till we meet again. Love.