Video games, the Internet, computers, morning cartoons, tunes from the iPod. With today’s constant barrage of technology, it’s a wonder anyone gets any work or real exercise done at all, let alone the kids. At their tender age, this is the time it’s most important for your kids to be active, to grow strong bodies not only for themselves but, as the Bible teaches, for the Lord as well.
The oft-quoted 1 Corinthians insists,
Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. —1 Corinthians 6:19–20, KJV
Our body is a temple. Those are powerful words. It can be difficult for a young child to interpret and understand those words, but with a little help from Mom and Dad, they’ll soon understand that all that time they spend being active and exercising is time spent, in part, praising God. Teach your children to treat themselves always with respect and that part of that is by keeping active and healthy.
Our bodies are a part of God, and it is up to us to maintain our bodies in His glory. Help little ones to understand that when we do those jumping jacks or stretch our fingers to the sky, we’re keeping our bodies in shape for the big man upstairs.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy (especially for adults!) to de-plug from all the electronics we have in our lives. From iPods and iPads to the computer, television, tablet and smart phone, it can be near impossible to engage kids in other activities.
Set up a schedule that both you and your kids can agree upon, especially during the school year. As soon as kids get home and finish homework; they can spend an hour actively engaged in physical activity. Once a healthy meal has been eaten, set aside some time for kids to “plug-in” with their favorite television show or computer game if they’d like.
Having trouble in deciding just what to do to keep your kids active? Why not try a combination of indoor and outdoor activities like Red Light, Green Light; Hide and Seek; or Follow the Leader. Plant a garden, join a little league baseball game, shoot some hoops with Dad, or take a swimming class at your local YMCA. There are so many options for you and your kids to exercise and remain healthy, offered through school, church and your community.
In the Bible, John writes that having a healthy body makes for a healthy soul as well:
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. —3 John 1:2, KJV
Being healthy in both mind and body leads to a healthy spirit as well. When your bodies are happy, God is happy. The government-sponsored Let’s Move initiative notes that kids ages eight to 18 spend seven and a half hours every day connected to media – that’s almost one third of their day watching television, surfing the net, texting, talking on the phone, listening to music on their iPod and playing computer games. Spending so much time connected to electronics can have negative effects on a child’s health and eventually lead to problems down the road.
Let’s Move suggests a solid hour’s worth of physical activity every day to keep kids healthy and strong. Play jump rope, Hopscotch, Capture the Flag, water balloon toss, anything to keep kids engaged and active. Remind them that when they’re outside and happy, they’re getting exercise, which in turn leads to healthy bodies, which is exactly what God wants of them.
Another relevant Bible verse can be found in 1 Timothy:
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. —1 Timothy 4:8, KJV
This is not to say that we should not exercise; indeed, we’ve already learned that being fit and healthy is what God wishes for us. What Timothy hopes his readers understand is that by listening to and believing in God, we honor Him. Teach children the way to a healthy life through exercise and faith in God, and encourage them through your own actions by cheering them on at basketball games or helping to build that treehouse they’ve been meaning to climb into. Have fun and stay fit!