On one of my trips through the Grand Canyon, I had the privilege to lead a group of people on a rim-to-rim hike over four days. Two members of the group were a father and son. The dad had just turned 60 and the son was in his early-30s.
Over some of the roughest and most beautiful terrain in North America, these two reconnected after years of being apart. They laughed, talked and formed life-long memories as they experienced one of the seven wonders of the world together.
Seeing them made me miss my dad. Just weeks before he had passed away, frail and tired from his decade-long struggle with cancer in his early-60s.
And, as I thought about this tale of two dads, I realized how I never had a chance to share these type of experiences with my own father. His sickness set in while I was still in high school.
Years later, as a dad of two daughters, I think about my health through the lens of legacy. I think about my inevitable passing and what memories I want to make with my children now. I think about being healthy enough to walk them down the aisle, chase their children and go on vacations or trips with them as adults. I think about sharing an empty nest with my wife, being healthy enough to enjoy our senior years together. I think about how I want to spare my kids midnight trips to hospitals.
These thoughts motivate me to be more healthy now.
You see, I believe, our lack of healthy living is in relation to our lack of healthy loving.
Love is the greatest motivator of all. It has prompted more paintings, more poetry, more pity, more passion (and compassion), more cheesy Bon Jovi love songs (ref. I’ll be There for You), etc. The Bible says “love covers a multitude of sins.”
Dads, go look at your wife and kids. Then go look in the mirror.
- Think about the hurt and grief your kids will feel when you die in their late 20s or early-30s.
- Think about the memories you will not share.
- Think about how you won’t be there to help or give advice in their darkest hours.
- Think about about your health choices right now.
I’m not here to cast stones. Rather, I’d like for you to consider these statistics today:
- 43% of Americans are not reaching the low recommended threshold for daily physical activity, which is just 20 minutes of walking per day. (Source)
- More than 80% of young people ages 13 to 15 worldwide are not getting the hour a day of vigorous exercise recommended for their age group. (Source)
- Sitting down for more than 3 hours a day can shave a person’s life expectancy by 2 years, even if he or she is physically active and refrains from dangerous habits like smoking. (Source)
- A recent Gallup poll shows 81% of people believe obesity is an “extremely” or “very serious” problem, more serious than smoking and cancer.
Which ones can you relate with?
We’ve all heard “don’t drink, don’t smoke, eat your vegetables, blah blah blah.” We hear it all the time. As grown-ups, we know our lack of exercise is not good for us, but the truth is, it’s killing us and robbing our children of time with dad.
Let love motivate you to make a lifestyle change today.