Yesterday we registered our two older boys for their first swimming lessons. They're very excited to go to the pool I go to every day, although the oldest likes to declare that he already knows how to swim. Yeah, splashing around in the bathtub doesn't exactly count, buddy!
In general, I think it's important for kids to learn how to swim because it can be a real safety issue if they are ever around a body of water. On a personal level, I'm thrilled for my own kids to learn to swim because I want them to grow up in an active, healthy lifestyle.
Body image issues are not exactly the same for boys as for girls, but I want to teach and emphasize health in our home nonetheless. My kids do not hear us talk about ourselves or anyone else as "fat," but instead we talk about what a healthy body looks and feels like. We talk about nutritious foods, and the importance of drinking water.
Most of all, we try our best to model good behaviors, because we know they are learning more from what we do than from what we say. How can we expect them to eat their vegetables if we don't? How can we tell them to go outside and run around if we are sitting on our behinds watching TV all day long? I doubt they would be as excited about their upcoming swimming lessons if they didn't see me come home from the pool every morning. They love watching me run on the treadmill, and I can only imagine how much fun they will have cheering me on in races someday!
Our lifestyle is definitely not 100% healthy, but I feel good about the effort we're making. I also feel confident that the lessons already are sinking into their sponge-like brains. I hope someday we will be the type of family that spends its weekends hiking, playing softball in the park, or riding bikes together, even if we also sometimes watch movies and go out for ice cream too. A healthy balance is what I'm striving for, and I hope the work I'm doing right now to get myself in shape will help significantly.
So I'm giving my kids the gift of fitness...this summer, swimming lessons...what will be the payoff? Is it too much to start hoping for the 2024 Olympics? :)