“The most important language is not the words that we say, but it’s the actions that we take. No matter what language somebody speaks, whether it’s English, Cantonese, Hindi, whatever it is, the universal language is action. If I see you doing something then I’m going to want to do it, as a child especially. We set the example. We can never tell our children to do something that we ourselves are not doing. That’s one thing, and that’s why our office is called Living Proof because you’re never going to have me tell you to do something that I myself am not doing. Leading by example is very, very critical.
Once your children become a certain age, then keep in mind that they’re going to have to make conscious choices and you want the choices that they make to be their choices.
From a very young age my son loved superheros. He loves Iron Man and the Avengers. One of the things that we did from the very beginning is we set an example for him and told him,
“Listen, the diet that these guys eat to maintain the strength that they have, and to be superheros is not junk food. It’s healthy, nutritious food.”
Whenever he accomplishes a goal we actually don’t acknowledge the goal, we acknowledge the effort that went into that goal. If he gets a good mark on a quiz or a test, we don’t congratulate him on that one single effort. We congratulate him on, “Hey Devon, it’s all that sleep you’re getting. It’s all the healthy food that you’re eating. It’s all the exercise that you’re doing.” That reinforces that behavior and he starts to realize that the reason he produced this result was because of all that effort that he was putting in.
Now I feel no two ways about leaving him in a room and getting him to make the healthy decision. It’s taken the stress off of my plate.
We tell him, Listen, this is your body. You’re not going to see me eating this stuff because it goes into my body. My job is to keep you healthy and to lead by example. If you want to eat this food it’s totally up to you.
this is your body. You’re not going to see me eating this stuff because it goes into my body. My job is to keep you healthy and to lead by example. If you want to eat this food it’s totally up to you.
Guess what, 99 times out of 100 he makes the right choice. We have to trust because a lot of times what happens is parents have this iron fist around their kids and when their kids go off to college or when they’re at their friend place for a party or something, they go off the deep end. They’re trying to defy their parents in a certain way.
Whereas, my parenting style is a little bit different. There may be controversial in some cases, but my parent style is that this is their body, it’s their journey, it’s my job to guide the journey, but not to necessarily change the journey for them. Sometimes people need to learn the hard way, right? Sometimes they need to have that stomach ache after eating the junk so that they don’t do it again.
If we constantly try to avoid it then what’s going to happen is they’re going to want it more, and more, and more. Unfortunately, that’s what ends up happening for a lot of parents. That creates a lot of turmoil, and stress, and anxiety because then when your kid isn’t around you’re always questioning what choices they’re going to make.”
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