#5: Am I Doing Everything I Can to Support My Child's Health?
I saved this question for last because the answer is perhaps the simplest concept but often the hardest to taken in. Are the choices that we make for our children leading them towards health or disease? What about the choices we are making for ourselves?
Starting at the Beginning
Your body has to be intelligent beyond our comprehension to go from two cells to one trillion cells in a matter of nine months. This innate intelligence builds a fully functioning brain, hundreds of thousands of miles of blood vessels with a pump to move blood through to carry oxygen from two lungs and nutrients from the digestive tract. Two arms, two legs, ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, two ears, a nose and beautiful skin to fit perfectly over everything are not a random chance, but an intelligent design that is made to continually develop, regulate, and heal for well over 100 years.
This is the most fundamental point on which my wife and I base all our family’s health decisions. We are programmed for health. We have to be. If not, the human species would not have survived past the first generation. We have an incredible ability to adapt to our environment through temperature changes, exposure to toxins, digestion of food, bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes. We are meant to be healthy.
Let's start with two different scenarios. Scenario A: You had a long day at work. You come home, sit down in a recliner. Opening a bag of chips, you turn on the television to a loud, violent program (a movie or maybe the news). Scenario B: You had a long day at work. You come home, change, and take your dog for a walk. You sit down at the table with your family for a healthy dinner. Then you read a book (by yourself or with your kids).
Which scenario do you think is a healthier choice? Scenario B, of course.
Health and Death are on opposite ends of the same spectrum. When you make a decision, any decision, you are either moving yourself (or your family) a step towards health or a step in the other direction. Healthy choices are easy to spot, but they aren't always the easiest to follow through with. That's why it's our job as parents to make it a priority. Decide to be healthy and make the decisions to support that choice.
It's not enough to say that we should eat more fruits and vegetables or exercise every day. We have to actually DO these things to see the benefits. Once we make healthy choices a habit, we make health a way of life.
What is the Best Way to Nurture Health in Our Children?
Here are 4 ways to help nurture health in our children. These aren't the only ways, but four that I have personal found to work best for my son and family.
1) Give them what they need to grow in health
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it is something that we must make a conscious effort of each day. Fueling them with the proper nutrition and supplementation when needed is a big step in the direction of health. Water intake is also important - not just for little ones but for parents as well. A well hydrated and nourished child is better equipped to be healthy than one bogged down with sugar and other food additives.
But it doesn't stop there. We must make sure that our children are getting everything they need - enough sleep, positive encouragement, mental stimulation, affection, and the opportunity to make healthy decisions on there own. As parents, we must supply their needs so that they are empowered to choose health too.
In Question #3 we touched on the difference between acquiring immunity natural and depending on artificial immunities. One of the easiest ways to build a child's immunity is let them be a kid. Let them explore their environment through touch without following them with a lysol wipe. Let them eat dirt. Watch an infant explore the world. Everything goes in their mouth. That's more than just a random act - that's their innate way of building immunity while still under the immunity of their mother. So what should we do as parents? Let them! Let them get messy. Let them enjoy it. The more they come in contact with now, the stronger their immune systems will be later.
Another suggestion is to limit the number of anti-bacterial/anti-viral products you use with you kids. We touched on antibiotic-resistance in Question #4, but there's another challenge we are creating. Disinfecting every inch of our children removes those small moments of contact with bacteria and viruses that build their natural immunity. There are, of course, limits to what I'd like my son to put his hands on, but overall letting him have free reign to investigate has built a strong immune system.
3) Lead by example
Children are sponges. They soak in everything we do, good or bad, right or wrong, and do their best to emulate it. So let's make our actions purposeful. When we choose to be healthy, we are giving our children the opportunity to follow in our footsteps in the direction of health.
From newborn to the elderly, there is a simple truth that each body shares: Every function of the body - every body and any body - is controlled by the nervous system. When that nervous system (the brain, spinal cord, and nerves) is free of interference, the body has the power to heal and maintain health. An interference, called a subluxation, hinders the ability of the nervous system to function. When your nervous system isn't functioning at 100%, you are not as healthy as you could be. You are taking a step in the other direction.
How do we make sure that our nervous systems and our children's nervous systems are functioning at 100%? We ask our chiropractor! A chiropractor's sole purpose is to locate and remove subluxations (those interferences that keep us from health) through specific chiropractic adjustments. And the people that respond the quickest? You guessed it, children! Chiropractic is gentle and safe. I adjust newborns with about as much pressure as you would use to pick fruit in the produce department. Often children only need the most minor adjustments to notice a big difference. People have asked why a toddler would need an adjustment? I suggest watching a toddler (or 7 year old, or teenager) for 15 minutes and, odds are, you'll have your answer! Having their spine checked for subluxation is a non-invasive check-up of the nervous system. And that little bit of time can prevent so much!
I adjusted our son when he was less than a day old. He was a natural, vaginal birth (birth is tough on little ones, no matter how it happens - that's a lot of pushing on a tiny frame) and would only nurse on one side. I cradled him in my arms and just applied a small amount of pressure. His nursing troubles were gone. He's now 2 1/2 years old and has only been adjusted a handful of times - usually following a tumble of some kind. He loves to climb up on the table to be checked and giggles after his adjustments.
How do we as parents provide the best opportunity for health in our children? Ask questions. Understand the answers. Make the decisions that are right for you and your family. In the end, the best advice that can be given is to lead by example. Strive for health in your life; in turn, they will learn by example. Give them the opportunity to grow in health!