10 Lessons for My Unborn Child

By Vince Del Monte, WBFF Pro Fitness Model, Certified Fitness Trainer and Nutritionist and author of No Nonsense Muscle Building.

My B.M.W. (Beautiful Marvelous Wife) is pregnant and we’re going to have the baby any day now, literally. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to teach my kid and here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Character is who you are when no one is looking. My father shared this truth with me and my brothers at an early age. We all know it’s easy to do the right thing when someone’s watching, but what happens when your audience disappears? I want my child to understand that the decisions you make in private are more important that the decisions you make in front of a crowd. Why? Because what we do in private defines who we are. When that small voice whispers to my child, “Don’t worry, no one is looking… no one is going to get hurt,” I want him/her to realize it’s those “small choices” made in hiding that truly define the kind of person that we are. When you’re home alone, the kind of shows you watch, the thoughts you think, and actions you do define the real person you are. It’s not “kicking back,” “rewarding yourself,” or “being selfish for once.” Character is who you are when no one is looking.

2. Choose your friends wisely.
My parents used to say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future,” and this truth nugget is as about as close as you can get to peering into a crystal ball. I’m a firm believer in the fact that you are who your friends are. Every time I hear parents complaining about the “wrong path” their kids are going down it doesn’t take long to figure out it’s because they are hanging with the wrong crowd. I’ve run in a number of different circles over the past 15 years — I had my Christian circle, my runners’ circle, my fitness model circle, my clubbing circle, my Internet business circle, and my experiences — positive and negative — were always reflective of the circle I was running with. It’s very clear to me that my worst decisions and lowest moments occurred when I was in my clubbing circle and partying hard with my Gino buddies. I will teach my child this timeless truth:  “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.”

3. To recognize that temptations are an opportunity to do good.
During the course of my child’s spiritual journey, I hope he or she recognizes temptation as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block, and that tempting situations are just as much an occasion to do the right thing as they are to do the wrong thing. Temptation simply provides the choice. I believe that temptation is designed to help us grow and mature.  As an example, life teaches us how to love by putting unlovely people around us. Joy can occur in the midst of sorrow. Peace can occur during times of stress. Patience can be forged during times of anger. I want my child to recognize temptations in life as an opportunity to positively develop his or her character.

4. Listen, love and respect your mommy.
Ultimately, the only way my child will learn this is if I, the husband and father, listen, love and respect mommy. The best thing my father did for me and my brothers was to love my mom. Through God’s grace and power, we were very blessed to see him love her, swallow his pride (many times), humble himself and treat her like a goddess. This is not something you teach with words; this is something you teach through actions.

5. Make as much money as you can. Save as much money as you can. Give as much money as you can. This was my mom’s advice at an early age and I will encourage my child to chase after their dreams. Growing up in a slightly traditional Italian family, we were encouraged to go after “security” – to get a good job and don’t take too much risk. I did the opposite. I pursued the fitness industry which has zero security and a very high turnover. However, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and desire to create something of my own and to build a business that allowed me to make as much as I want, save as much as I want and give as much as I want required taking on a lot of risk. So when my child starts saying, “Daddy, I want to start my own business,” it’ll be something I fully support and encourage.

6. Read every single day. I grew up reading. I started off with comic books although my mom didn’t like many of them. I read everything from The Punisher War Journal to the Incredible Hulk, Ghost Rider, X-Men, Spiderman and Wolverine. I still have boxes hidden away. Then I got into fantasy novels — Terry Brooks, Stephen R. Lawhead, and J.R.R. Tolkein were my favorite. Then I got into lots of Christian books in my teens to learn how to handle temptation and peer pressure. In university I was surrounded by massive science books on anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, psychology and more. Then after university I started reading sales books and wealth creation books from guys like Jim Rohn, and Robert Kiosaki. I grew up seeing my mother and father read every single day and this became a very pleasurable habit that I will pass along to my kids. My kids are going to grow up around books and they will value going to the “bookmobile” or local public library on a regular basis. I will teach them the saying, “Every time you watch a reality TV show, a book commits suicide.”

7. Be a doer, not a talker (or debater). I want my child to understand that you learn from doing, not talking or debating (which I personally think is the biggest waste of time). At the end of the day I want my child’s actions to speak louder than his or her words. I want my child to be an ACTION TAKER and value SPEED OF IMPLEMENTATION — the time it takes to hear something and then do something about it. Talk is cheap and I want my child to understand that life is God’s best teacher and there is nothing more important than experiences you gain from taking action.

8. Swim, Bike, Run…. and save the bodybuilding for later. Swimming, biking and running (I was a national level tri-athlete) laid the foundation for the rest of my life. In my opinion, those are the three most pure sports in the world. Thankfully, my father introduced the sport of long-distance running to me and my brothers at a very early age. Although we were encouraged to do team sports, I sucked at them. I was OK at soccer but that was it. I excelled in distance sports where I learned the character traits that forged me into the man I am today — hard work, discipline, endurance, getting outside of your comfort zone, and learning how to deal with disappointment. So many lessons occurred from these sports that can’t be taught with words, only experience, and I hope my kids have a passion for these same sports. Plus, being a competitive tri-athlete and endurance runner gave me the opportunity to travel the world, kept me out of trouble, and made me comfortable with being uncomfortable. If they want to lift weights recreationally, that’s totally fine, but I will encourage team sports and endurance sports first and foremost.flavia-baby

9. Foods can make you healthy or make you sick… but don’t miss out on your Italian culture! I believe that health starts on the inside of the body and inside of the home. It’s not about being 5% body fat, it’s about having energy, beautiful skin, focus and drive. The right foods can do this for you. Growing up I ate almost everything and anything and wasn’t introduced to ANY form of “healthy nutrition” knowledge until university. I lived off of Kraft Dinner, pork and beans, cereal, granola bars, pasta, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, Nutella and bagels — and I never went over 5% body fat! I never ate protein and I’d never heard of the terms soy, gluten-free, GMO, raw food, organic, grass-fed etc. These words were foreign to my vocabulary, and I was a high-level athlete, so it’s hard for me to think and say, “I’m not going to allow my kids to eat anything processed, packaged or boxed,” because I practically lived on everything you’re not supposed to eat and turned out fine. Since my wife and I have dedicated our lives to healthy eating I know we’ll be introducing our kids to high quality proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, oils, legumes, seeds, low-glycemic carbs and high-quality supplements right away. Heck, my wife’s prenatal nutrition plan would put a professional fitness model diet to shame. With that all said, we’ll certainly allow our kids to experience the Italian food culture and tasty desserts on special occasions.

10. Be positive and see the good in everyone and everything.   Maybe this is naïve and not great “street smarts” but it’s this mentality that I consider one of my best traits.  I want my child to see the positive in every single situation.  When you go through a breakup, see it as a positive, not a negative, because the next one is going to be even better.  God doesn’t give you “second best”.  When you grow up with skinny genetics, look at it as a positive, not a negative, because you’re going to be forced to work smarter not harder.  When someone hates on you, look at it as a positive, not a negative, because you’re standing up for your convictions and their hate is just an expression of their insecurities and jealously. I’m going to teach my child to see every single situation in life with a positive attitude and perspective. There is no other way to live life.

I have to admit that life has been pretty easy up until now and I’m excited to see how this baby transforms me more than I transform him or her. I would love to hear the #1 lesson you want to share with your child or you do share with your child. Let me know below and thanks for allowing me the opportunity to post and share.

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Comments

24 thoughts on “10 Lessons for My Unborn Child

  1. Great post. My favorite was “Make as much money as you can. Save as much money as you can. Give as much money as you can.” I’m going to have to tweet that.

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  2. Congratulations on this great journey you are about to start. I really liked this article and I think that if all parents out there took child bearing as seriously as you both do, the world would be a much, much better place. Great article and I red agree with you on everything, but I did like number one the best.

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  3. Its really hard to choose! I say they are all great lessons but the one that really stuck out to me is number 4

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  4. First of all congratulations!! Those are some awesome thoughts and ideas! I would only add to teach and show them the love of God and also remember that “more is caught than is taught.” They will follow your example more than your words.

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  5. Congratulation to you both! Having a little one is the best experience and learning curve in life! One thing I would say is as long as there is love it concors everything, and keep God as the centre focus. Show your child love, be there for them, go to school plays and sports days, my father never was around for me at theses events and when I became a father I want my kids to have a different experience. I wanted to take time out of my busy schedule and go to these events, and share time with them. These are things that stick with a child as they grow up. My parents where amazing in other areas of my life ,. But when you take that hr or 2 out of your schedule to spend quality time one to one with your kids and show them that you have fun together going to the park or kicking a ball together , allowing them to be who they want to be, following their dreams and giving them opertunities to make choices that they may learn good and bad lesions from these are valuable life skills for you and them. All the best with parent hood.

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  6. Vince and Flavia, firstly congratulations to you both! Having a child is a wonderful experience. I think your ten lessons are great, and it’s good to see you are both already thinking of how you can be the best parents you can be.

    I would only add that it is important to realise that your child is not you. They will have their own ambitions, desires, strengths and they will have their own personality. Don’t try too hard to give them the same experiences you had (through athletics etc). They may not even like to exercise! Instead, be patient, supportive and give them nothing but love. And trust that they will develop in their own way into a beautiful, compassionate and caring person through you and Flavia’s nurturing love.

    All the best mate. See you in HMAX

    Matt

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  7. Hi Vince, Congratulations to you and Flavia.

    All I would add is: teach them about the God who made them!

    We have eight kids now and they’re the best thing that ever happened to us :)

    All the best,
    Bonnie (Rains)

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  8. First, I would like to sincerely thank you for this article.You have shown us your parents though we have not met them and how amazing they were.All I can say to you is Children are an extension of parents.This wealth of noble information will be passed to little Del Monte, no doubt.One thing that I share with my kids is to realise the generation gap and see the importance of taking from our parents though what they say is not so “cool”, and also understand that parents are also human and will continue learn and sometimes from mistakes too.I have seen many kids today go to drugs, sleeping around and stuff because,’ well my dad doesn’t love me, or approve of what I am doing ,wasn’t there and my parents divorced”.What about an orphan if everything has to hang on the parent?As much as this could be so true its not a passport for us not to do the right thing.In addition to these noble lessons you posted above believing in God and in oneself are the greatest motivation, influence and force to move forward and progress in one’s life.For Parents , as a christian I can refer you to Proverbs 6 v 22,”Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is grown up, he will not depart from it.Thank you for a selfless spirit to share this valuable information with the world,its not going to be for your child only but millions others out there, including mine.God bless your precious family as you wait for the little one, good luck. we love you.

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  9. All the best for your son and your family. Your child will change your life forever.

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  10. I’ve got 2 boys and a girl. I always tell folks “Kids are the most fun I’ve ever had with something that didn’t require batteries”. While you’re concerned about raising yours “correctly” remember 3 things. 1) Do have fun with your kids. It’s as important for them as it is for you. 2) You have to give them enought rope to get hurt, but not permanently damaged. It’s the way we learn, and it’s hard for parents to do. Especially as they get older and stretch their wings. 3) Don’t let the kids become the center of your life. The parents are the core of the family and the kids are part of the family. Keep the core strong and the kids will learn from your example. Loved your quote about “watch a reality show and a book dies”! My daughter was behind in reading skills until she found an anime site. It was in Japanese, but with subtitles. Her reading skills went thru the roof, and comprehension with it! He works in mysterious ways. OK, down off the soap box now! Good luck to both of you.

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  11. Hi Vince & Flavia, Congratualtions to you both on the impending arrival of the first baby Del Monte, having ‘followed’ your journeys for some time now I know you will be amazing parents and your child/ren will be very blessed. I love the fact you have put so much thought into what you want to pass on and your top ten above will no doubt evolve and expand as you go. I love all ten, number 10 is my favourite, I believe a positive attitude affects every area of our lives and seeing the good in people can sometimes open up opportunities that would otherwise be missed and can sometimes truly help others who have not been as fortunate in having people such as yourselves as parents. One I have tried to pass on to my own two children is: Do unto others as you would have done to you (speaks for itself really). All love and best wishes to you and your family, I look forward also to seeing pictures. God bless you all. x

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  12. WOW! I felt like you were speaking directly to me and all of these ideas stuck into my heart. I will use this when I am married to my future other half and have a lucky child :).

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  13. Hey Vince, I’m a father of 2 (1 in college and 1 going into 1st grade) and I’ve got my 3rd on the way. I agree with what you say and let me tell you how lucky you are that Flavia is a healthy eater. My wife (whom I love dearly) hates all veggies and refuses to eat them. It makes it really hard to get my little one to eat any healthy food when mom refuses to eat it as well. My eldest eats some fruits and veggies, but I wish she ate more. I would just recommend starting and continuing with the healthy foods early and often. But as you say, Mac and cheese, pbj, pizza (homemade of course), pasta… I turned out fine, but as we age our bodies just tolerate it less. And I still have my foundation of home grown vegetables that my dad grew in our back yard that keep me eating the healthy things today. Gotta give credit where it is due… Thanks dad! And good luck Vince.

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  14. Very Grounded Approach, cool to see people teaching morals to youth :D

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  15. CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU BOTH…Seems like you got the babies future planned…I got 5 kids and everyone is different and im still loooking for the instructions,LOL.
    Great article and insite to how you want the values of your baby to follow,.If all goes to plan without to much outside influenc e youve got it nailed…You will both make great parents and look forward to some happy snaps..

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  16. Somewhere in the top 5 I might add: Integrity. Integrity is a binary trait, you either have it, or you don’t, there are no shades of grey. Its not about being generous, compassionate, or even polite. Its about doing the right thing, always. Its about keeping your word. Its my first religion, next to my personal religion. Its a way of life, never done for others, or even a select few, its something you practice daily for no one else other than yourself. Its something you are always mindful of, something you take personal pride in, something that no matter what the circumstances allows you to always keep your head up high.

    If you live your life with integrity, without compromise, it makes your decision process that much easier. Living a life of integrity allows you to be demanding of nothing less in others. It’ll help you know who to trust, and who to avoid.

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  17. Very inspiring lessons, thanks for sharing.
    I would add one more: respect your elders

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  18. Thanks for sharing. Raising a little one is a huge responsibility and gift from the Lord. My wife and I have one due soon too. Got me thinking a lot about what I want to pass on to her and what I want to teach her about the purpose of life. My biggest fear is just raising a “good” kid. I want her to live in light of the reality that she was fearfully and wonderfully made and was created for the glory of God. Lifting up you, your bride and your bambino(a)!

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  19. Awesome article Vince! This made my day. I want to personally congratulate you, your wife and the tiny, tiny, tiny bundle of joy that is on it’s way! To keep the positive momentum going, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvR_Iq2pcYM

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  20. Love the lessons Vince, each time I listen to you or read one of your articles I get inspired.

    One of the many things I have learned from following you is to be a doer and not engage in pointless debate instead let results speak for themselves.

    My father always tells me “you are who you mix with”.

    All the lessons above are valuable but especially lessons 1,2 and 4 are the ones that I am going through with my eldest.

    Parenthood is a marvellous journey, almost like reliving your past again.

    I wake up each day and think how can I be a better role model to my children?

    Good luck and I am sure you and Flavia will make good parents.

    Marwan

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  21. One more week and I will be the proud father of my first son ( after two daughters) and I am getting a bit nervous day by day. Thanks for these nice, private, insides and ideas.

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  22. Vince,

    These are great lessons and it made my day!

    Congrats on the baby and for future reference I would LOVE to see more posts like this.

    Very heartfelt and thought provoking!

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    • Congratulations! I am looking forward to seeing some baby pictures with the proud parents, of course!

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