Every day that I get out and run, or otherwise work out, sends a message to my children. When I don't want to workout, feel lazy, or am busy, it sends and even stronger message about what kind of things should take priority in life. It is a weighty responsibility. So much of their future depends on the example I set with what I DO not just what I SAY. Becuase of this, I'm honest with my kids. Some days I whine all the way out the door about not wanting to run or exercise, because we all have days when we do what we should instead of what we want, but I make sure they know why I go anyway and how much better I feel for having gone.
For this same reason, I know I have to reach and take chances. Soon I will register for my next race. I haven't decided yet if it will be a half marathon, or a three race series, (6k, 7K, 8K,) but either way I will be showing my kids that it is worth taking chances to push yourself to new limits. Maybe I won't be able to meet the challenge, maybe something else will happen to keep me from training or running the race, maybe I should just give up. Then I think about the message that would send to my kids, and to my own psyche, and I push forward again.
This is what I want my kids see when they look at me; a fighter, someone that doesn't give up, somone that may have to take a step back from time to time, but who will raise to the challenge again as soon as she can fight her way back to the starting point. I've asked them about what they remember as kids, specifically if they remember when Mommy was so sick. Amazingly, they have no recolection. My little one does not remember me falling asleep while she played Barbies next to me in bed because I was too sick to get up. My older one does not remember having to help me get dressed it the morning before dressing herself for school, or having to give up her favored ponytail for a while because mom couldn't manage a rubber band. So many things broke my heart at the time because I thought they were missing out on a whole mommy, and that it would leave them feeling deprived forever. I was so wrong. They don't remember it, but it gave them compassion and independance that I'm sure they would not have learned as well if I hadn't been through such a rough patch.
Many children have parents with dissabilities or challenges, but it isn't what you actually do each day that matters, it is your attitude as you go about your day. If you live life as fully as possible, they will learn to live life too. If you give up and let life pass you by, the first time they hit a bump in the road, they will follow your example.
Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent. **Carl Gustav Jung**