I have been teaching “summer gym” for the last few weeks. It is fun to be called “Coach Bennett” even though I am technically not a coach of any sport at school. It has been an enjoyable and active series of days. From 7:30-3:30 I think I am just as active as the kids. Today I registered a whopping 30,000 steps on my pedometer. I also raced the students up the local foothill (elevation 1300 ft). Only one student remained as I reached the top. Then I played a few at tennis, beating a tennis team player in six games.
I’m not bragging (well maybe kind of!). But my point is that at age 35, I am in great shape. I eat right, watch my weight, and look years younger. In fact a few days ago, a student asked my age (she apologized that it sounded “creepy”). When I mentioned my age, pretty much every student was in shock.
My point is that it is possible to be in excellent health at any age.
And this relates to fatherhood because it is possible to be athletic and healthy as you age. The standard narrative I have witness is that people are healthy and in shape when they are younger (if they are at all), and then by the time they become parents, they gain weight, quit exercising, and start eating in a way that is “easy” but unhealthy. Unfortunately, just as it becomes time to become an example to the next generation, dads (and moms) stop doing the very things necessary to teach kids the right habits.
Unfortunately, as I was playing tennis and running, my daughter was in the ER for a hairline fracture. Nonetheless, I hope she always knows that her dad does what it takes to stay healthy and in shape, no matter what age he is. I hope she learns that there are great benefits to eating healthy and being active, in the way you look and feel. Dads have an important role in showing kids that you can be excellent at any age!