Natural Health by Intentional Example
by Keith Bishop
Each generation learns from the previous one. There’s a story of a young girl who was helping her mother prepare a roast for dinner. When her mother cut off one end of the roast and then oddly enough placed both pieces in the pan, the girl questioned why she did that. After a pause, her mother explained that was how her mother always had fixed a roast. The girl then questioned why her grandmother had done it that way. Her mother suggested that the girl ask her grandmother.
It turned out that the grandmother had a simple explanation: Her pan wasn’t big enough for the roast to fit in as one piece. The unexplained action of one person had an impact on two generations. Children and young adults learn by example. They observe everything parents do, including what they eat and how they take care of themselves. Parents have the responsibility to do their best to lead their children by educating, by example or by intentional processes, and explaining the whys without them having to ask.
Parents can reason through decisions verbally while shopping. Some examples include explaining why the family should purchase free-range meats free of antibiotics, or choose organic foods with no artificial colors or flavors. Adults can also say to children, “Let’s go to this restaurant because they use local produce whenever possible,” or, “Let’s use this natural bug spray.”
When adults face a challenging situation—which we are prone to on a fairly regular basis—children observe the manner in which the situation is handled. Choosing to take a deep breath and reflect before acting teaches children by example the difference between reacting and responding. Learning this life lesson during the early years of childhood development is a real gem.
Taking time to explain everyday decisions to children will have a positive impact and teach them to, “Think before they buy.” This is a way to ease them into learning the process of making thorough decisions on their own. Saying things like, “I like to get supplements from this store because they stand behind their products,” or, “My healthcare provider likes this brand,” are clever ways to encourage children to read labels and research companies on the Internet. It can also be a fun way to spend time together.
Unknowingly, parents can teach a child that it is embarrassing to ask for help. It can be empowering for children to see their parents ask questions or ask for help from a reliable source. A common thing to say to children is, “Use your words.” Learning to ask questions is a great example of doing this. Parents should welcome the opportunity for their children to witness them asking pharmacists and healthcare providers for advice before making a decision about their health and nutritional needs. It’s important for parents to keep in mind what is age appropriate for their children’s ears. Businesses, such as compounding pharmacies and local farmers’ markets, are great places to call to make an appointment for a Q&A learning session and tour. Consider calling ahead to ensure there is adequate staff available to assist and have a list of questions ready. The entire family can benefit from the experience.
Parents need to be careful about following medical advice of friends and family that are not professionals while their children are listening, as they may think that they can seek the advice of their friends for problems they are having. When children see and hear their parents ask health providers about their training, qualifications, how long they’ve been practicing, why they chose the health field as a career, and to whom they refer if a patient needs more assistance, this teaches them at a young age to be responsible and meticulous when it comes to matters of healthy living.
Almost every moment with a child provides a learning opportunity. Learning about adulthood in a fun and creative way fosters a levelheaded beginning that will provide children with the knowledge to live a healthier life and pass that treasure on to their children.
Keith Bishop is the clinical nutritionist at Flourish Compounding Pharmacy and Nutrition. For more information, call 405-751-3333 or visit FlourishRx.com. See ad, page XX.