As you raise your children the most important thing you can do is to teach them to find a healthy balance in their lives. This is especially true in regards to exercise and nutrition. It is important to remember that our bodies are blessings. In “The Body as a Blessing” it reads:
“The Doctrine and Covenants declares that ‘spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy. And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.’ (D&C 93:33–34.) In these verses and others like them, modern revelation restores a truth known before the world was: namely, that the body is a blessing. Its creation was welcomed by heavenly rejoicing and pronounced ‘good,’ even ‘very good,’ by God himself. (Job 38:4–7; Gen. 1:31; Moses 2:31.) The physical body is a divine gift, a complement crucial to the spirit if we are to receive a fulness of heavenly joy and glory. As Joseph Smith taught: ‘We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body.’”
As we realize that our bodies are blessings, it becomes clear that it is our responsibility to care for our bodies in a way that would be pleasing to our Heavenly Father. We have received instruction on this through the Word of Wisdom. It is also important to teach our children the proper way to care for their bodies. At the same time we need to teach them gratitude for our bodies.
Right now my four-year-old is learning about her five senses in preschool. It is fun to see the joy she has in tasting, and smelling good things to eat. The joy she experiences as she looks at a beautiful butterfly or touches a fuzzy catepillar. She appreciates the blessings that come with a having a body. As children grow older they lose this joy, and begin to feel negatively towards their bodies. This can be especially true if they struggle with weight or acne or any other condition.
As we teach our children when they are young, and then continue to express to them the blessings that we have received by having a body, we can help them to fight off the negative images that can come into their lives. We can also teach them how to properly care for their bodies, which will help to ward off disease and other ailments.
It is also important to teach them of the love Heavenly Father has for each of them, no matter what they look or feel like. It is also important for parents to have a positive self-image as well, because your actions and attitudes towards yourself will speak louder than anything you say to your children. As children find the balance, they can find happiness.