Children learn by observing their parents. If you smoke or drink, your children will most likely pick up the habit. If you spend your free time watching TV, they will too. If exercise is not part of your daily routine, they will never know what exercise is or how to achieve it.

As parents, we all want the best for our children. We would do anything to ensure they are happy, healthy individuals. Yet, some of us don’t realize that everything we do is looked at by our children, who want so much to be like us, that we unconsciously forget how quickly they can mimic our behavior.

Children depend on us for everything. The food they eat, the clothes they wear, the programming they view, there free time, study time and every aspect of their lives is an extension of who we are and how we conduct our lives.

It seems plausible, then, that if we want them to be healthy, we have to live healthy and productive lives ourselves. From the moment they are born we tend to their every need. We nurture them, comfort them, console them, counsel them, admonish them and teach them the values we hold dear.

As parents, we are charged with the ultimate responsibility to ensure our children grow up to be viable candidates for success in a world that scrutinizes every facet of a human being. Living a healthy life encompasses not only the physical, but the emotional as well.

If our lives are conducted in a healthy manner, which includes all facets of our home life and the outside world, our children will follow suit. Conversely, if no interest is shown or there is an unhealthy relationship in the home, our children will take what they see as normal and mimic it.

Observing kids in public schools, for example, you may find children whose clothes are wrinkled or torn; they have no respect for authority; if they become ill, their parents refuse to pick them up or they are left to go home to an empty house and fend for themselves. Obviously, this type of home environment in which they live is the cause for disruptive behavior, anger, frustration, inability to socialize and, more importantly, a constant state of sadness.

Once the commitment is made to have children, it is the responsibility of every parent to ensure that child is taken care of – mind, body and soul. All they ask in return is to be loved. They rely on us to lead healthy lives and their unconditional love demands that we do so.

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