You may have heard about Stephanie Decker. She's the Indiana woman who saved her kids from a tornado by shielding them with her body. She's a true hero. She lost both her legs in the process, but the kids came through without a scratch.
When my daughter, Kelly, was 2 years old, we had an earthquake in Seattle. It didn't do much damage, but it was scary. When the earthquake hit, I panicked, and dove under a table for protection. Then I heard my husband, Steve, cry out, "WHERE'S KELLY!?" And I thought, Oh, that's right - Kelly! I'd forgotten all about her.
Even though I didn't react well in the moment, I'd do anything to save my daughter. Turns out, I've been saving her for almost 20 years. I've saved her by teaching her to be active and choose healthy foods. I've saved her by being a good role model. And I've saved her by giving her a foundation of fitness she can carry with her the rest of her life.
Our kids watch and learn from us. When they're little, they watch so they can be just like us. Then they turn into teenagers and watch so they can be just the opposite! Finally, they grow up and prove they learned something after all.
Case in point: the other morning: my daughter, now almost 20, was getting ready to go play golf (she's s college athlete, home from school for the summer). She made herself scrambled eggs for breakfast. I watched her use one yolk and extra egg whites, and asked her why.
"So it's lower in fat. You know, healthier!""
I snapped a picture for evidence, then did a little happy dance.
According to the CDC, “Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States - triple the rate from just one generation ago: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html. Scary, huh? Especially because obesity is linked to a variety of diseases, and even early death.
I'm not perfect - far from it. There have been too many times I've said "yes" to the question, “would you like fries with that?" But overall, I make good, healthy choices. I'm glad, because even if I don't always want to make them for myself, I have a bigger reason - Kelly.
As adults, we can each help save a life - whether we’re an example for our own kids, or someone else’s. Will you get fame and glory, like the woman from Indiana? Nope. You’ll just get the feeling that “ya did somethin’ good.”
As a mom, I have one more incentive to stay healthy and live a long life. I endured the years when Kelly thought I was dumb and dorky (a period that's not over yet). I want to stick around for the years when she realizes I'm smart and wonderful.
That might be awhile.