The Unintended Reward

You can never really live anyone else’s life, not even your child’s. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you’ve become yourself. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

When I began the mission to change my habits to lead a more healthy life, I never realized the impact that it would have on others around me. While I still have a long way to go to being the person I want to be, I am beginning to notice that my dedication to enhancing my life has been noticed by others. I know it may sound weird, but I really do not know how to handle the -for lack of a better word- responsibility. It may sound selfish, but I changed my eating habits, my activity level, my reading/learning habits so that I can continue to be healthy as I begin to approach middle age. I want to do everything I possibly can to be alive, and active for as long as possible. I want to be there for my son as he gets older.

We have never been into forcing our son to eat things that he does not want to eat. We go out of our way to educate him on all the benefits of eating healthy food, but we believe that dictating his food pallet will only encourage needless rebellion (“I won’t do that because you told me to do that”). That being said, we make sure that he is not filled with garbage food. So his diet does not contain a lot of sugar. We always open the door from time to time to eating a vegetable that he doesn’t like, in hopes we may catch him in a moment of weakness and sometimes, he will accept the challenge.

Last week I had prepared one of my son’s favorite dishes. It consisted of noodles with some vegetables and chicken. Nothing fancy, just a basic stir-fry. But what my son loves most about it, are just the noodles. The vegetables might as well be dog poop to him. The chicken, he will eat without complaint. As he was eating his supper, out of the blue he started scarfing down the various vegetables in his stir fry. I was shocked. Not wanting to ruin this moment, I didn’t say a thing. But after a few bites, he quickly exclaimed “hey, look, I am eating these green things!”. Well… he cleaned his plate. I was amazed. I know in recent weeks, he has been hinting at eating more vegetables but he would end up backing out when presented with them. I never thought in a million years he would just start eating them on his own!

Later that week upon a visit to a second hand store, our son was in the book bin picking out some early readers (being he is only in grade 1). He found a couple of chapter reading books that were familiar to the books he gets at school. We will never shoot him down from buying a book or three. So off we went to the cash. After we got back on the road to go home, I noticed that he was quiet in the backseat. If any of you know our son, his mouth never stops, neither does his thought processor. I looked back, and much to my astonishment… our kid was reading! On his own! Without being asked or suggested! Chapter after chapter, he would announce that he was done one and onto another. By the time we got home, which would be about 30 mins or so, he had read pretty much 3/4 of the book. He seemed to be really proud of himself and I can tell he is embracing reading as a past time.

I would like to believe that my recent changes have been a positive influence on my son. I know he has been asking me about various books that I am reading. How mine don’t have pictures and such. It could very well just be that he has been exposed to a lot more reading time at school. As for the new found “good food exploration” that he has been on. I certainly know he is noticing me scarfing down a lot more healthy food lately and I have been quite candid to the “crap” food and what it contains when I turn down certain foods that he asks about. Anyways, if it is my influence on him that is making him make more healthy lifestyle choices at the age of 7, then that is certainly an unintended reward on my journey to be a better person. I can only hope, that he will find the same freedom that I have had by making the right health conscience choices.

384 / 1000 KMs walked | 21 / 50 blog posts | 10 / 10 books read

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