When I was in school to become a dietitian, I remember one class where we dealt with the topic of getting children to eat their veggies. As I’m sure you are aware, there are many proposed gimmicks out there – disguising them in some other dish, offering rewards, outright begging and pleading – to somehow influence the young’n to down their roughage with limited gagging, wailing, and general gnashing of teeth.
That’s all well and good but, as we learned, none of it works. Not very long (if at all) that is.
Actually, according to the research, the number one way to get kids to eat their vegetables is for the parents to… (drum roll please): eat them themselves!
Yes indeedy, because kids emulate their parents. Not only in actions, as in the eating of spinach, but also in what those actions witness to. That is, values.
As a matter of fact, kids put more stock in the actions of their parents than in their words. A father might tell his son, “treat women with respect, junior”, but if Pop isn’t holding doors open, taking heavy burdens for her, and generally being a gentleman, but rather makes bawdy jokes in her presence, fails to keep the profanity out of his speech when addressing her (or, again, simply in her presence), or postures and intimidates her physically, well, little Billy is going to line up on the action side of that inconsistency.
I wonder how many fathers keep that in mind as they flip through the TV channels and linger for an extra minute on the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, in full view of their sons?
I wonder how many mothers consider it as they spend more time applying makeup and slavishly attacking the treadmill than they do on activities that create a beautiful spirit and a toned mind, witnessed all the while by their daughters?
Kids are sponges. This is true.