This picture is going around Facebook and I've had conflicting feelings about it. At first, this mom appeared to me to be reinforcing negative cultural messages like being heavy should be avoided at all costs, that being pretty or worse, sexy, is power and influence women should strive for, that people aren't worthy of love unless they are perfect, that aging is bad, etc. I think all the fashion magazines at the checkout and advertisements on television have put me on the defense.
But, on the other hand, I see how this picture can be inspiring. Children should see parents modeling good choices and healthy lifestyles and they need to know that real life won't always be accommodating to their goals, even their most worthy ones. You have to work for what you want wherever and whenever you find the opportunity, even if it's on the middle of your living room floor.
My daughters watch me work out because they are always with me. My four year old has a little baseball bat that she uses to mimic what I do with my bar and barbells. When I first noticed her behind me, mimicking me, I was afraid, afraid she was learning all the things I had to unlearn since I grew up in this culture. But I realized that I am not teaching her or letting her be taught all our culture's ideas about beauty, so I relaxed and have come to think it's adorable that she exercises with me.
I pursued and continue to pursue health out of obedience to the Lord, so He will receive glory for working in that area of my life, so I can be strong and useful to Him, and because I have discovered that I just really enjoy healthy food and exercise. (In yet another area of life, God has taught me to love what's good for me.) I have no doubt that when my daughters probe and probe, and they do probe already, that those reasons are the reasons they will find behind what their mom is doing. Those are my "whys," truly.
I'm not sure what the mom in this picture's reasons are. But I believe our "whys" make all the difference for the little eyes watching us.