We have lived in our little village suburb for over four years now.
Our home is at the base of a huge hill called "Black Hill" which is a part of the Mount Lofty Ranges. As we travel to school and around; as we admire the views from our front windows, we are surrounded by the gracious presence of this majestic and ancient hill.
In the years that we have lived here, I have moved from being morbidly obese to a lot lighter and a lot fitter.
My children have grown from three under three, all in nappies, to independent little people.
My lovely husband has hiked up this hill, and solo camped up there, a number of times.
Since losing a bit of weight, I have walked up this hill, and run sections of it, a number of times.
Over Easter, with its glorious long break, we asked the children if they wanted to go for a bush walk to the very top of Black Hill.
The idea was met with much excitement and enthusiasm. To be honest, it surprised me.
When I asked them why they were so keen, so happy at the idea of walking all the way to the top, they all responded in a similar fashion -
Olivia - "That's where you walk isn't it Mummy? I want to walk the long walks, like you do...."
Charlie - "Is that the humongous hill that Daddy goes up, when he goes off with his humongous backpack? Where he does his adventure camping? Can I go too? Can I? If I know the way, I can go with Dad next time? I will be as good a walker as Dad..."
Lexie - " I love doing a big walking thing. 'Specially with my whole flamily. Can we take crunchy apples for a picnic? Mumma, is that where you do your running Mumma? Mumma, can I do running up there with you? Can we all run together? Mumma, I am good runner when I have my pink sneakers on. I like that hill Mumma...."
It made me realise, in a flash, the strength of influence we wield over our children in terms of lifestyle.
They see this active lifestyle as normal and positive and fun. They associate both their father and mother as active people who love nothing better than walking up a great big hill.
They aspire to have habits like ours.
They do as we do. They watch our behaviours and copy it. They cannot wait to replicate the habits of their parents. They instinctively look to us to show them the right way to be.
Thank goodness we do walk, thank goodness we do run, thank goodness we love to hike. Thank goodness they reflect our healthy habits.
Thank goodness I changed my habits from unhealthy to healthy when I did. If children are not the greatest incentive to adopt an active lifestyle, I don't know what is...