Brush your teeth. Eat your vegetables. Go to bed. Each of these may remind us of childhood. If we are lucky, we had an adult in our lives who cared enough to prompt, scold and cajole us into forming habits that would be good for us – eventually. Yet, why did they seem to care so much if we skipped a plate of greens? Sometimes, it seemed they just liked to argue!
Then, as life has a way of doing, our perspectives change. We move from the role of child to adult and begin to care more about the health and well-being of those around us. Broccoli is part of a balanced diet. It is filled with fiber, vitamin C and calcium. Perhaps when our parents forced us to eat it, they were showing as much love as antagonism. Sure, a tired, sugar-buzzed child with a toothache is no joy to be around. So, self-interest may have served a modicum of motivation to our adults. But most of the benefits of good habits don’t come until much later – even after we’ve flown from the nest.
As years passed, our own children have formed the necessary practices to live right; and, we don’t spend as much time directing them. Today’s admonishments are more likely to be shine your shoes or pay-off your monthly credit card balance. Is our work done?
This week, a dental hygienist reminded me to floss more often; an internist urged that I eat less salt; and a trainer told me to work on my flexibility – every day! Have we become children again, needy of reminder and encouragement? Or, have we benefitted from the support all along – our busy lives and constant distractions simply kept us from taking note? Who knows, but I think I’ll order broccoli for lunch.