Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Children Are Our Future

Showing the kids a kiwi
I have spent this week speaking with hundreds of kids ages 5-12 about their health.  It was an effort to teach the kids and to promote my Camp Champ for Kiddos in July.  The past three days with these kids has been a true inspiration.  I have made presentations at the Williamson County Parks & Recreation summer camps sites – six elementary schools in all.  It has reinforced my purpose of starting Coach D Consulting last year and has rejuvenated my passion for getting people healthy!  I absolutely adore the receptiveness and candor of children.  When I spoke to them about being health NERD’s (if you missed some of my previous posts, this is getting proper Nutrition, Exercise, & Rest Daily), they absolutely understood the importance of health.  They knew that should eat fruits & vegetables and get exercise.  But, there was a disconnect as to how they were supposed to go about doing that.  I showed the kids fresh produce – a bell pepper, a kiwi, a red pear, whole okra, a red-skin potato, and kale.  I explained to them how nutritious each was and how they could prepare it so it would taste great.  I also showed them exercises they could do with a family member during commercials rather than sitting on the couch all night.  Not surprisingly, most of the kids did not know they need 10-11 hours of sleep every night.  Many of them said they fell asleep watching TV or playing video games.  But after my presentation and a wide variety of questions from the kids, they began to understand how important nutrition, exercise and rest really are – and that they can be fun!  By the end of each presentation each child understood that healthy kids are happy kids! 

Whether you are a parent or not, your life will be affected by a child.  Today’s youth will one day run this country.  And if the obesity epidemic continues on its current trend, today’s youth will live shorter lives than we adults will.  And their lives will be filled with more illness and disease due to obesity, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition.  So, if we want to protect our future, we also need to protect our children’s future.  While this may surprise you, our children are hungry (pun intended) for knowledge about nutrition & exercise.  Just to prove to you how interested and eager they are to learn, I want to share with you several of the interactions I had with these kids over the past few days. 
·         An 8-year-old boy came up to me and asked me what the “green leafy stuff” was and how to make it into chips.  I told him it was kale and if he baked it at a very high heat for a few minutes it would get crispy and taste like chips.  He concentrated on every word I said, then paused and crinkled his eyebrows (I could see the wheels turning) and said “cool” and walked away.
·         A 10-year-old girl came up after the presentation with a piece of paper and marker and asked me the name of each vegetable & fruit I brought.  She wrote down one name at a time and showed a broad smile when she had the list complete. 
·         An 11-year-old boy told me about the Disney Channel’s Healthy Magic campaign.  I Googled it today and saw they the Magic of Healthy Living is a new initiative by Disney that includes nutrition & the Let’s Move campaign support by Michelle Obama.  Kudos to Disney!  
·         A 10-year-old boy asked me if I had a website.  I wrote it down for him and he asked the camp counselor if he could go put it in his bag.  He ran to the classroom to put it in his bag!
Getting the kids energized with exercise
·         A 6-year-old boy made up his own exercises and said “Coach D, is this good exercise?”  I loved it!  I said “Yes, it looks like it would make me out of breath!”
·         An 8-year-old boy who was overweight came up and while touching the food told me that he was smart for his age.
·         A 6-year-old girl asked why she need more sleep than her parents did. 
·         A 10-year-old girl wanted to know if we would rest during my camp in July.  I told her that we would eat healthy food and get lots of exercise, but I would let her rest in her own bed each night!
·         A 6-year-old boy wanted to know “what numbers in July” my camp would be.  I told him the dates were on the flyer.
·         Another 6-year-old boy then proceeded to raise his hand with great concern and tell me “I don’t even know what a flyer is”.  I assured him that we had a blue piece of paper for him to give his parents. 
·         A 6-year-old boy exclaimed after seeing the kiwi “I’ve had that…it’s delicious!”
·         A 7-year-old boy informed me that nutrition is “fiber”. 
·         One of the camp counselors asked me after the presentation how to make the kale chips and said she would do it this week!
·         One group had the camp counselors using their whistles to do football-style drills where they ran in place then hit the ground to do a push-up.
·         Many of the kids would run up to me and tap me on the shoulder (or stomach or back or wherever they could get their hands on) and say “watch this” and show me an exercise they could do. 

This is merely a handful of the amazing interactions I had with the kids this week.  I wish I had the memory to recall each and every question and numerous comments from each child.  But the bottom-line is that our kids are starving for knowledge and guidance on how to be healthy happy kids.  They are aware they need to be healthy, they just need support doing it.  I would like to end by purposefully quoting Whitney Houston, “The children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier…Everybody is searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to.”  Will you be that someone a child can look up to?  Will you show our youth how to be a health NERD?  Join me in making our future healthy & happy! 

Whether you have children who need to shape their future, or you’re an adult in need of reshaping your future, I am here to be your coach and your friend for life!  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  And see for July’s Camp Champ for Kiddos flyer.  Obesity is 100% preventable – let’s change our kids’ future today!  

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