Your Good Life Guide to the Hudson Valley. It's Fun Here!
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The Importance of Family Fitness

family fitnessBy: No Boundaries Fitness

Many factors can contribute to childhood obesity, from a sedentary lifestyle to food marketing and misinformation. So it seems only natural to get kids moving from a young age. By getting your kids to connect physical activity with thoughts of togetherness, community and fun, you can guide them toward furthering those beliefs with age. And positive, long-term habits aren’t restricted to young people. You can make lasting changes in your own life and beliefs as well. Taking the step to get physically active with your family could be the beginning of a lifelong enjoyment of fitness for you and other adult members of your family.

Generally speaking, you spend more time with your family than you do with anyone else. So when the people you spend the majority of your days with are all interested in exercise, the chances that a physical activity will be suggested are far more likely. Your daughter may comment that it’s a nice day and you should all go for a walk, or your son may suggest a game of touch football in the park. Before you know it, you’re having fun and getting exercise without even realizing it.

When families today think of “family time,” it often involves going to see a movie or staying in to watch TV together. Although such activities certainly have their place, as they are great for relaxing and unwinding, how much conversation really takes place? Everyone is often lost in his or her own thoughts, and no real communication occurs. With exercise, however, there is no other option but to talk with one another and work as a team. Whether you’re playing tennis, going for a tough jog or strolling leisurely through the park, you are granted the opportunity to focus on your interactions and the goals you are accomplishing together. It doesn’t get much more rewarding!

It’s fun!

Playing video games, watching TV or surfing the web all have their time and place, but let’s face it: When you do any of these activities for too long, you soon start to feel sluggish and unproductive. Exercising with your family gives you the chance to get outside, breathe some fresh air and really get to know the people you spend each and every day with. And there are no rules when it comes to how you exercise. If you feel like getting started with an easy walk around the block or paddle in your local pool, that’s great. Or if you thrive on competition and like organizing activities such as dance competitions or baseball tournaments, that’s wonderful too. Experiment until you find those activities that make you happy, and then run with them!


Helping Kids Remember the True Meaning of Easter

easter timeInstead of chocolate bunnies and egg hunts, shift Easter’s focus to faith and rebirth.

By Kathryn Slattery

Jelly beans, cellophane-covered baskets, giant candy bunnies. As I spotted all the trappings of Easter in the supermarket, I thought to myself, No wonder kids get confused about Easter.

Explaining Christmas was a cinch–the birth of Christ is simpler to grasp. Creches, carols and pageants all reinforce the message, making it easier to keep Santa Claus in perspective. But how could I explain to my two school-age children something as profound and mysterious as the Resurrection?

I knew that other parents were struggling with this, too. In fact, I took the greatest comfort in the advice of one friend who said, “Start with the traditions you already have.”

On Good Friday in our home we always color Easter eggs–three dozen. What could be a more obvious symbol of new life than eggs? Last year I told the children about a chick I once saw hatching in an incubator. I described how he poked his way out with his beak. “A new life. That’s what we celebrate at Easter,” I explained, “the new life we have in Christ.”

The next bit of inspiration came while I was shopping. I found a set of Bible storybooks for my son, Brinck, and came across a tiny gold cross necklace for Katy. I included these presents in the children’s Easter baskets, and since then I’ve added prayer journals, tapes, Scripture stickers and bookmarks. I like the tradition of Easter baskets, especially when I can include gifts that will nurture the children’s faith.

The third idea came from Guideposts contributor Posy Baker Lough. “Try something,” she suggested, “to give children a good visual image of the Resurrection.” She described a project at her church: The children were given caterpillars, and in the weeks prior to Easter the kids watched them spin cocoons, metamorphosing into butterflies.

“The butterflies were released just before Easter Sunday service,” Posy said. “Afterward, when we explained to the kids that the cocoon was like Christ’s death and entombment, and that his resurrection was like the butterfly, they understood.”

At Easter time, images of new life are usually easy to find: crocuses and daffodils blooming, lambs gamboling in fields, birds returning to their nests, green returning to the landscape. But sometimes spring comes late (or Easter comes early) and the holiday meets a gray, cold day. Then I think of something that happened to my friend Alison.

On an unseasonably cold Easter morning when Alison was 10 years old, her mother urged her to go outside to see what was in the yard. There in the snow her mother had made a rainbow of hundreds of brightly colored lollipops, sparkling like bits of stained glass. “It seemed like a miracle,” Alison says. “Magical, beautiful, full of mystery and wonder.”

And that, I realize, is what I want more than anything else to give my children: the miracle of Easter. It was God’s most astonishing miracle, the resurrection of Christ and the promise it held for us: eternal life.

So, finally, go to church on Easter. Put on your best clothes, take flowers from your garden, sing all the hymns with alleluias. Celebrate. Last Easter Sunday I was delighted when I overheard one youngster say, “Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, but Easter is everybody’s birthday.”

Yes, it is. Easter is the time for you and your children–for all of us–to joyfully celebrate our new birth.