My son, Elliot once told me that he didn’t want to grow up. He said, “I don’t want to be a kid in school my whole life, but I definitely don’t want to be an adult.” I asked what he meant and he responded, “Well, first you have to get a job you hate and then you don’t get to do anything you want to do.” I of course asked him to clarify, to which he said something like this:
“Well, you and dad complain about work all the time and you both say you never get to do things you want. Like, you say you wish you could hang out with friends and family more and go play soccer and dad wishes he could play guitar more. So, why can’t you?”
It wasn’t long after this conversation with Elliot that I signed up for soccer again and started my journey to follow my passions and purpose. That one conversation was a defining moment in my life. One that changed my course and has now changed many others as well. Elliot’s comment to me became part of an important lesson for my clients. Some of my favorite clients are the ones that say things like this:
“I wish I could do more of what I want but I don’t have time.”
“I want to be healthier but it’s so hard.”
“I have always wanted to try that, but I don’t have time or money.”
Most of my clients say they don’t have time or money because they have kids. If you can relate, I ask you this…how will they ever learn to follow their dreams if they don’t know what it looks like? How will they learn to move their body and exercise if no one shows them how? How will they ever be empowered to eat healthy and nourish themselves if their own parents don’t? How will they learn to be happy and positive if the ones teaching them are crabby and negative?
We all want the best for our kids and one of the best things you can do as a parent is to show your kids what it means to be happy and healthy. Stop telling and start showing. Set an example by making time to care for yourself and do the things that feed your soul. If you lead, they will follow.
Here are some things you may be teaching your kids that you don’t even realize:
That they are fat and ugly.
When you complain about your weight, your wrinkles, or your body in general…you are teaching your children to do the same. I remember one morning my son came in my room all upset and said, “Mom, I am fat.” I responded, “Elliot, no you aren’t! What would you think that?” He said, “Mom, my pants don’t fit and when yours don’t fit you say you are fat.” Elliot simply grew into the next size pants. That was such an important lesson for me to be mindful of what I was saying about myself. We need to honor and love our bodies so our kids do the same.
That they can’t follow their dreams.
When you say “ugh I have to work”, “I hate my job” you are teaching your kids that when they grow up they will have to get a job they hate and will be miserable. If you are in a job that you don’t like, learn to love what is right now while you work towards what you want. Talk about all the great things your job is providing. Teach your child about what you do so they can be proud and have a role model to look up to.
That marriage and having kids is stressful, hard, and expensive.