Viewers often comment that their children and grandchildren love to see Brother Francis having so much fun playing basketball, skating and even jumping on a trampoline! It was no accident that this character was created with such a high energy level and capacity for plain old fun. God created us with the capacity to enjoy wholesome activities. As the Olympic champion Eric Liddell said, in the academy-award winning movie, “Chariots of Fire”, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure!”
In the same way, it is good to teach children to honor their body by taking good care of it through healthy exercise and dietary habits. Current news reports are flooded with stories of increased childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even heart disease —the physical effects of inactivity and unhealthy eating. Statistics show that as many as 1 in 3 children and teens today are considered overweight or obese. As parents, we want our children to have a good body self-image and to know that God considers their bodies to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, given to them as a gift (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Like all good gifts from God, we need to be good stewards of our bodies. Eating healthy food and getting exercise shows God that we are thankful for His gift to us.
Did you know that the American Heart Association recommends that children over the age of 2 need a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day to maintain good health? Of course, the types of exercise should be age-appropriate and enjoyable, and not boring!
Children tend to follow our lead, so try to incorporate physical activity into your routine that will include the entire family such as swimming, bike rides, or even a walk around the neighborhood. The internet is full of great resources and ideas for family activities.
Look for godly role-models such as Brother Francis, that illustrate the joyful, active, Christian characteristics you want for your child and take advantage of those opportunities to discuss the importance of taking care of their body. Find out what physical activities they are interested in. Then turn off the TV, computer, and video games and get moving.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
If you have any great activities to share, please leave them in the comments section below.
Additional Resources:We Can – Nat. Heart Lung and Blood Institute