This is not the Mother’s Day essay I intended to write

This is not the Mother’s Day essay I intended to write.  

This essay is about me. It’s about how I learned forty-year-old woman can act like petulant toddlers – and their Moms will still love them.  This is the absolute uncensored truth on all levels.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom, (aka Grandma Macaroni). I love you.

I bicker with my Mom.

I roll my eyes at my Mom.

I am exasperated with my Mom when she buys my child expensive birthday / Christmas / Easter / no reason other than she wanted to presents.

She ‘just wants to’ frequently, so I’m frequently exasperated.

I am frustrated with my Mom when she morphs into a short order cook and meets my child’s utterly random requests for ‘melty cheese’ or ‘macaroni and peas’ or ‘the good crackers.’  I am most especially frustrated because I have no earthly clue which crackers are the ‘good’ crackers. This is their little game, and if I’m honest, I’m a little jealous.

I am irritated with my Mom when she brushes me off and gives my child another cookie. Extra cookies happen often, so yes, you guessed it – I am irritated often.

This past week I sat with my coffee and my laptop, morning after morning, trying to summon the great American Mother’s Day essay. Concentrating and meditating and deleting, as the words just never seemed right, never seemed enough.

I was searching for words of love and wonder. But, those words packed themselves up for a holiday without notice, leaving me dry. In a final, desperate bid to summon words, any useful words, I flipped back through old journals.  Surely reading my words, written in my hand would unstick the spigot – it had to, I had deadlines and time waits for no writer.

So I sat reading my journals. Leafing recklessly though pages that contained lists of what I was grateful to have in my life, plans for the future, recollections and hopes and joys. I was flipping back and forth a bit recklessly when I slammed into the wall of fear and pain. Stung by the scrawl I didn’t recognize as my own, I read the entries full of fear I wrote last winter.  I noted how my letters were bigger, loopier, rushed and raw. I wanted to turn the pages and run from my words, but I was stuck there by the stinging, searing, memories. For three months I was gripped by a variety of fears as my mom, who I can’t recall even having the flu was desperately sick.  Some unknown bizarre infection was wreaking havoc in every sense of the word - and I was powerless.  I was frantic, powerless and lost. I closed my eyes and willed the images away, but still I remembered the phone calls to and from my brother and father. I remembered keeping the phone ringer at full volume so I wouldn’t miss a call or text. I couldn’t miss a call or text.

I was submerged by the memories of the vows I made that began ‘If my mom is ok.”

If my Mom is ok I’ll let her buy my child whatever she wants to.

If my Mom is ok I’ll never be snide when she asks me to call to say I got home ok.

If my Mom is ok I’ll never complain that she lets the baby watch TV.

If my Mom is ok I’ll never roll my eyes when she questions my parenting.

If my Mom is ok I’ll never chastise her for undermining my parental authority.

If my Mom is ok… If my Mom is ok… If my Mom is ok…

Had I fulfilled any of those vows? Any? Even for a short time?

Didn’t I just question why she bought another American Girl outfit? Wasn’t it last month I pleaded with her to keep the Easter baskets reasonable this year? I allowed the first cookie so why, I recalled asking, did she have to push it to two cookies? And for the love of life could someone tell me which crackers are the ‘good crackers’ so I know which brand to buy?

Stunned the clock brought me back. Another day’s office hours resulted in nothing productive and know the toddler needed to be picked up.  I put the old journals back, splashed water on my face and hit the Starbucks between my front door and school pickup line. Yes, I had made coffee that morning, but it grew cold and sour while I tripped on my memories. Not much in life is worse than cold coffee or broken vows, besides I needed the familiarity of the drive thru to steady me. I needed the caffeine to snap me back.

It was raining so we couldn’t play on the schoolyard slide.  As my toddler waved good-bye to classmates, I noticed the quivering lip, the sad forlorn brown eyes and sensed my window to restore calm was closing – quickly.  I knelt to explain we’d play another day, steeling myself in case this mission went south with the reminder: this kid saves the tantrums for me because I’m the safe harbor. I’m the person it is safe to screech at, stamp feet at and glare at while yelling, “I’m so frustrated.”

I get to deal with the tantrums because I’m Mom.

My love is sure and absolute.

My love is constant and relentless.

That absolute, relentless love despite anything this kid throws at me is the love that Moms talk about when we say we’d do anything for our kids. Anything to see them happy, see them safe, see them spared of pain or robbed of joy.  Maybe those moments when being the Mom is tough are really gifts; I get to prove that fierce love over and over and over… and Please Lord over and over and over and over for a long time to come.

Standing in the cold spring rain I realized I didn’t really break those vows. I was just testing the limits of a more mature Mother / Daughter bond. Giving her the gift of loving her child over and over and over and over and Thank You Sweet Lord over and over and over again.

My Mom’s love is without question and therefore, can tolerate eye rolls, snide comments and exasperated sighs. I looked deep into those big brown eyes and said, “Hey, you want to call Grandma?”

“Good crackers?” the small voice asked?

I replied “Sure, Mommy promises to ask Grandma were to get the good crackers.”


Jennifer Bellber is a Certified Professional Life Coach & Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. She's a wife, mother of a toddler, sometimes blogger, photographer for fun and charitable causes, slow runner and weight lifting enthusiast who reduced her physical self by 120 pounds a few years ago. 

Jennifer's passion is helping overwhelmed parents figure out who they want to be when their kids grow up, ditch the Mommy Guilt (or Daddy Guilt as the case may be) and live a connected, empowered, wickedly amazing sexy life of their own design.

To learn more about Jennifer, visit: www.jenniferbellber.com

Source: www.jenniferbellber.com

My Word for 2016

As a society we seem to have turned away from New Year’s resolutions and turned toward a single word to sum up our intentions for the clean slate of a new year. A Word which could and would bring us back to center in moments of uncertainty, moments when a decision mandates we consider the bigger picture of our why and how.

As I embraced the search for my own why and how I paused to take a look deep inside, to see what was important to me. Really, I was searching for a word that summed up my goals and aspirations – but what are they? Some aspirations like prioritizing my marriage, regaining a higher level of fitness and shedding the final forty pounds of baby weight have been with me for a while. Other goals like ignoring comparisons to other mothers are newer, but no less compelling. These goals required a word that was action oriented and contemplative.  A word that wouldn’t shrink under the sheer volume and momentum of a mompreneur’s to do list.

I’m not entirely sure if I found my word or my word found me. Either way it is concise, compact and oddly liberating.

My word for 2016 is Me.

That’s Me with a deliberately capitalized M – the Me of my higher, enlightened Self.

What does Me mean? It means a year of radical self-love and radical self-care, which ensures I show up as the best version of Me possible.

Me: connecting deliberately with my husband. Sharing my joy, my strength, my passion and my compassion.

Me: connecting consciously with my child.  Focusing when we are together kicking the ‘must multitask’ monkey mind to the curb and reveling in the joy of raising a competent, independent thinker.

Me: shrugging off unsolicited advice and comparisons. I’m the Wife, Mother and Woman I’m meant to be. I am enough as I am and I chose to grow stronger and more fearless each day.

Me: eating healthy foods 85-90% of the time. Me and My Family are worth the time and cost associated with proper, healthy meals, nutritious foods and luscious desserts. Oh and drinking more water because I’m worth the potty break time-outs.

Me: Running. Lifting. Coming back to my badass self who could once out lift every other chick in the gym.

Me: Splurging on new running shoes, seamless socks and a weekly yoga class.

Me: growing into my professional role. Working during office hours with clients and on programs that bring passion, purpose and empowerment.

Me: caring about those who care about me. Friendship is built on trust, loyalty and laughter.

Me: laughing long and loud with those friends I value who force me to level up my game.

That’s Me for 2016. What’s your word?


Jennifer Bellber is a Certified Professional Life Coach & Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. She's a wife, mother of a toddler, sometimes blogger, photographer for fun and charitable causes, slow runner and weight lifting enthusiast who reduced her physical self by 120 pounds a few years ago. 

Jennifer's passion is helping overwhelmed parents figure out who they want to be when their kids grow up, ditch the Mommy Guilt (or Daddy Guilt as the case may be) and live a connected, empowered, wickedly amazing sexy life of their own design.

To learn more about Jennifer, visit: www.jenniferbellber.com

Source: www.jenniferbellber.com

A Heartfelt Thanks To My Mum

To the one who gave me a Beautiful #gift called #LIFE – My Mother!!

My GRATITUDE list is endless, but here are a few reasons that make her special. I'd like to extend a heartfelt THANKS to my mum for:

  1. Making that choice of putting my happiness and well-being ahead of her own.
  2. Teaching me the hard lessons to do the right things.
  3. Making me strong and confident and to become independent in life.
  4. Being there always as a strong pillar of support.
  5. Being strong in my weak times
  6. Walking my path with me and not leave my side.
  7. Being my VALENTINE this year and every year – You showed me the real meaning of “LOVE”
  8. FORGIVING me again and again and again for every mistake I made in my life.
  9. ACCEPTING me the way I am with my flaws.
  10. LOVING me UNCONDITIONALLY in this selfish world.

Thank you Mom for everything!! I wish to make you proud someday and to also see you “Happy”.


Kusha Kalra is a passionate Facilitator and High Impact Presentation Designer. Friends and colleagues know her for the positivity and magnificent vibrancy that she exhibits in her training sessions. The innovations and creativity have left a lasting impression on the audiences.

Kusha is certified coach from International Coach Academy and is keen on helping people in their pursuit of happiness. To learn more, visit: www.happylives.in

Source: www.happylives.in

How Do You Overcome Being Hurt By Others?

This came out of a conversation I had with my 10 year old. I asked her what she thinks about when someone hurts her and her response was 'I wonder why they hate me'. Of course, I recognized the teachable moment immediately! Here are some nuggets from our conversation...

1. Remember everyone does the best they can in a given moment. We're all human. We don't always make the best decisions. What you may think is a bad decision may seem right to someone else. Try to be understanding and see things from their perspective and do your best not to judge. We'll never know what someone elses intentions are or why they do certain things because we've never walked in their shoes. If you find yourself judging others, don't judge yourself! Notice the thought and let it go. Just being aware of it and making a conscious decision not to judge, minimizes your chance of slipping into that behavior. What I like to do is notice the thought, let it go and then bless that person and send them positive thoughts/energy.

2. Every person and encounter happens for a reason. Ask yourself, what can you learn from this, even though it hurts. What may be the reason that this happened. How can I do better or help others as I learn from this?

3. How important is this in the grand scheme of things? Often when we get hurt by people, it feels like that's all we can focus on but when we take a minute to reflect, it's often not something that's going to have a big impact in the long term (unless we let it). We can choose to reframe it and learn from it so we can let go of the hurt and pain.

4. Forgiveness. This is a tough one. Sometimes people consistently hurt us and others, and we don't understand it. What we need to remember is hurt people, hurt people. Try to have compassion for others. It's also important to recognize when a relationship is toxic and it's best to cut ties rather than constantly forgiving and ending up in the same cycle (that's another discussion, for another time).

5. Being vulnerable. If the relationship is important to you, talk to the person about how their words or behavior makes you feel (not about what they're doing wrong). They may not even be aware of it. A great deal of healing takes place when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. This is also how we strengthen relationships and build trust.

6. Don’t take it personally. Easier said than done, I know. Often when someone hurts us, it's a reaction they choose to have, whether the intention is good or bad. We have a choice in how we interpret it and how we let it affect us. Remember, holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We can either choose to let these moments shape us or break us. What will you choose?

If this is an area you struggle with, I would love to speak with you to see how I can help. You can book a FREE strategy session with me by using this link: http://www.bookedin.net/life-and-leadership-coaching-for-women

Have an amazing, blessed day!


Sharissa is a life and leadership coach for women, specializing in the areas of career transition and advancement as well as work/life balance. She is a speaker, writer, radio talk show host, co-owner of Stop.Smile.Breathe. Women's Retreats, and serves on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization called Empowering Women as Leaders.

She has held leadership positions in the technology field at Fortune 500 companies, the federal government and multinational companies, among others, for over 12 years. She enjoyed coaching and mentoring throughout her career and decided to start a business based on her passion for helping women.

The mission of her business is to help women live a well-balanced life of purpose, joy and fulfillment where they’re thriving and not just surviving.

www.sharissasebastian.com         

info@sharissasebastian.com

 

Source: www.sharissasebastian.com

All I Want Is My Child To Be "Happy"!

Since the time my child came into my life, it has been a roller coaster ride. The journey of five years is locked in my heart for the rest of my life to cherish. A few things which he has taught me every year are:

1.) The First Year - Love, Hugs and Warmth. The touch of their little hands and feet, the chuckles and the nibbles. The sleepless nights and the days of smiles and play. The musical toys, the ringing bells, all this and more. I learnt to be happy and smile even when life gave me a hundred reasons to cry.

2.) The Second Year - The incomplete words, the sound of mama and the big feet wanting to climb every chair and table. The urge to move around, the teething pains, the rolling on the ground. The smiles glowing brighter and brighter day by day. Everyday bringing with it new accomplishments. Crawling, kneeling, standing, falling and not giving up and trying again is a lifetime learning for anything that we want to achieve.

3.) The Third Year - You can smile and cry at the same time. Yes! Kids have a wonderful way of doing this. One second they are crying, and the other moment you hear giggles in your ears. Watching these magical moments have been overwhelming. The energy levels at its peak have shown how the mind controls the body. And once the mind decides then nothing can overpower it.

4.) The Fourth Year - Be Fearless and Curious. The power of imagination, of questioning, of learning new things every time, all the time. A creative adult is a child survived in it. Always think childlike and you will break all boundaries in the galaxy of thoughts.

5.) The Fifth Year - Time to build the foundation. Foundation of values, discipline, character, attitude, self-image, self esteem, self-worthiness. A testing time for the parents as the child is learning more from your actions than your words. Watch what you do rather than what you say. Appreciate, Encourage, Empathize with them for this will help them get roots of responsibility and wings of independence. Responsibility to take decisions, make choices, OWN Choices. Independence to make them feel empowered enough and know how to think rather than what to think.

Many more moments to be created, to be smiled, to be enjoyed as it is our responsibility to develop in our children -- confidence to stand on their own, courage to dream big and fight for it and a sense of gratitude for LIFE which is to be lived Happily!!


Kusha Kalra is a passionate Facilitator and High Impact Presentation Designer. Friends and colleagues know her for the positivity and magnificent vibrancy that she exhibits in her training sessions. The innovations and creativity have left a lasting impression on the audiences.

Kusha is certified coach from International Coach Academy and is keen on helping people in their pursuit of happiness. To learn more, visit: www.happylives.in

Source: www.happylives.in

International Youth Development - Self Confidence & Belief

Rod’s client was 13. He had been adopted in Ethiopia and moved to Albania and Macedonia when his father’s work changed. Being the only person of African origin in either country made him highly visible and prone to attention. Alex struggled with his identity – who he was and where he was from.

Coming to terms with life outside of Ethiopia and in cultures very different became a major challenge for him. Between languages, cultural and educational differences Alex felt great pressure to fit in as well as finding himself. There was a time when it looked like he would be unable to do either. 

Objective 

Rod's objectives were to increase his young client's self confidence and belief. To reconnect him with his identity whilst embracing his passion for performing arts and music, putting him on track for a successful and fulfilling life.  

Action 

Rod's first challenge was to get his clients' respect. After he'd achieved this he took his client through a number of NLP exercises to help him explore and connect to who he was and what was important to him. 

As his clients confidence started to grow Rod changed his coaching to focus on helping his client develop a number of success strategies to survive and thrive in different cultures. This let to coaching his client in how to model effective performing arts strategies. 

Results

The results were evident immediately. No longer the ‘odd man out’, Alex had become the centre of attention and a social magnet. Rather than seeing himself as second or third class he projected a confident and first class image which others reflected back to him. In a matter of weeks which led to months his client experimented with different things.

He went on bungee jumps, para sailing and glider pilot lessons. In short he expanded his own beliefs and started to live his life to the full. 

And so

Two years later Alex has created music DVD’s been on multiple television programs around Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Italy, Canada and many others. His videos record 120,000 + views and he is now studying in college performing arts and creative dance. His has a plan for his future and carrying out steps towards achieving it on a daily basis. 


For more than 30 years, Rod Beau has been an internationally sought-after education and management consultant and keynote speaker. His practical, real-world business experience and career have been in educational leadership, relocation consulting and executive and leadership coaching. As a Senior Consultant and Master Executive Coach, Rod is also an Accredited ANLP Trainer - specializing in Executive and Leadership Coaching. To learn more about Rod Beau, please visit www.sherpanlp.com

Source: http://www.sherpanlp.com/

How to Fight Cyberbullying

From “The Karate Kid” to “How to Train Your Dragon” to “Little House on the Prairie,” bullying is a common theme that reflects the real issues children and young adults face when peers begin a campaign of hate. And because learning how to subdue a rare dragon or perform a threatening karate kick isn’t effective (or even realistic) in social settings, parents have struggled to find the best way to explain bullying and give their children the tools necessary to combat — or simply survive — the unwanted attention.

Even more confusing is the rise of cyberbullying — something most teachers, parents, or other adults have little experience with and may be unaware of as the exploitation occurs on private online networks or is hurled by anonymous users. This can’t be ignored, however. Nearly one in five children who use social networking sites is the victim of cyberbullying, according to a recent study by children’s charity NSCPP.

Hannah Smith, a 14-year-old girl living in England, was one victim of online bullying. Gabrielle Molina was teased and taunted online and in the classroom. Both of these young girls’ deaths have been linked to cyberbullying. Most recently, a 17-year-old boy living in Scotland took his life after communication with a person he believed to be a teenage girl turned out to be someone extorting money. Stalking and bullying online are serious threats to our children, and they require parents to remain vigilant in monitoring their children’s online habits.

Recognizing the Abuse 

The signs of cyberbullying are similar to those of “traditional” bullying. A bullied child will tend to be withdrawn, agitated, and reluctant to share conversation. He might suffer from loss of appetite, a decline in the quality of his schoolwork, general worry, or emotional upsets like crying for no apparent reason. 

Many times, the victim does not even know who the abuser is due to anonymous comments or user profiles. This leaves the child feeling paranoid, wondering who is making his life miserable and whether he knows the person in real life.

Unfortunately, the effects of cyberbullying aren’t limited to digital spaces. While the perpetrator might not attend the same school — or even be the same age — the child’s peers can read the comments online and bring them to life in the “real world.”

Why is cyberbullying so harmful? Many children have self-doubt, fear, and imposed beliefs that they are “no good,” and a few unkind words displayed on a message board can turn these common insecurities into total desperation. These messages can be reviewed again and again, and the hateful comments tend to be much harsher as abusers act more brazenly when sheltered by a screen.

Because it’s so difficult to stop or monitor online activity, parents need to support, guide, and help their children develop skills to combat the abuse and deal with the psychological aftermath. 

How to Fight Back

For many parents, their first reaction to an instance of bullying is to take away the cell phone, the Facebook account, and any online privileges. No cyber life means no cyberbullying, right?

However, this tactic can actually make things worse. For many children and young teens, having hundreds or thousands of contacts, Facebook friends, or Twitter followers is a measure of popularity and self-worth. The phone is a portal to their world. While some negativity and abuse might be coming through, closing the door entirely is not the answer. Taking privileges away can feel like a punishment during a time when the child really needs trust, support, and open communication with his parents.

That said, there are some steps a parent can take to make a child’s digital world safer right away:

  • If the abuse is happening through SMS, change the child’s cell phone number or block the abuser’s number.
  • Shut down any profiles or accounts where users are anonymous, such as Ask.fm. These sites attract users who prey on youthful insecurities.
  • Have an honest conversation about how to respond to hateful messages and how to understand the other person’s motivations.

If Things Get Worse

Bullying can become an unmanageable issue, especially if a child’s abusers attend the same school or participate in the same activities. Often, a child being bullied is viewed by other bullies as an easy target, and this results in a vicious cycle of hateful comments, teasing, and threats, both online and at school.

Create a team to address the issue. Include teachers, other parents, and siblings. Provide a supportive environment where the child can talk openly about the abuse and how he feels. If a young adult is uncomfortable discussing these issues with a parent, a coach or therapist could help him work through the bullying, regain his confidence, and reaffirm his values.

If threats have been made, you should immediately contact the police — even if it’s an online issue. Technology has become more sophisticated, and police departments may have the ability to track down the abuser through his or her digital signature. Hiring a lawyer or working with social services are also options for families or children who have experienced serious disruptions because of a cyber bully.

Having an online presence is a natural part of a young adult’s life today, so the most important thing you can do for your child is to instill in him the belief that he can discuss anything with you — including mistakes made online. If you make discussing online behavior and interactions a regular event, you can build a relationship in which online teasing, bullying, or even coercion are issues you fight together. 


For more than 30 years, Rod Beau has been an internationally sought-after education and management consultant and keynote speaker. His practical, real-world business experience and career have been in educational leadership, relocation consulting and executive and leadership coaching. As a Senior Consultant and Master Executive Coach, Rod is also an Accredited ANLP Trainer - specializing in Executive and Leadership Coaching. To learn more about Rod Beau, please visit www.sherpanlp.com

Source: www.sherpanlp.com

Coaching A Family With Teenagers Through Transitions

Situation

Rod's client was a family in Scotland who had two children of school age. The family had moved overseas three years ago and had just returned to the UK. Their two teenage children were not settling in either their school or social environment and had created resentment towards their parents for the move.

They felt great pressure from their family to do better. They were frustrated by the apparent impossibility to change their destiny and their frustration with their lives.

Parents were concerned about the change in behavior, occurrence of depression and self harm.

Objectives

Rod's objectives were to empower the teens to identify what their passions were. To reconnect them with those passions and help empower them and restore their self confidence so they could find avenues that would open the doors for them to start the changes. Ideally to get them to see their present challenges as advantages along with their experiences abroad. 

It was also critical that the parents who were paying for the coaching understood that there was confidentiality between the teenagers and Rod as a coach. This had to be a pre requisite to the agreement for coaching.

To stop the self harm of the youngest teen.

Action

Rod initially identified some of the teenager’s key strengths, which included their experiences abroad, their understanding of cultures and language from their 'adventures' overseas and their ability to be a catalyst for change and understanding in their new environment.

To create with the teenagers strategies to build new friendships in their new school as well as maintain their old ones via social media with those overseas.

To open avenues of discussion to address the root mistrust caused by the frequent moving around. To discuss their concerns and create a family dialogue that allowed for different opinions to be respected and valued rather than judged.


Rod tailored youth impact coaching sessions individually with the two teenagers to identify their concerns and open that dialogue. 


Created joint sessions with the two teenagers to see how they could create joint and supportive strategies 
Created a family session to set ground rules for open discussions and support

Using NLP and Youth Impact coaching Rod created a holistic process for the entire family that would allow them to all see and recognized their individuality as well as the benefits of being a family again

This included a 'personal breakthrough' session to increase his clients confidence and a session to help them understand what was really important to them both in school and life generally.

Rod then coached them to improve their chances of getting accepted in their new environment and how to really benefit from the opportunity this would offer. 

Result

The youngest teen stopped self harm and moved from minor drug use to become self confident and self assured. He went on to enjoy a productive year in his new school and was elected to the student council for the forthcoming year.

The eldest son was able to create new friendships after some difficult struggles. He was able to maintain his close friendships from overseas and will host two of his best friends in the summer for a month. It is proposed that he will later return to his previous country to be hosted by his friend.

The family came up with positive strategies to implement whenever the father's work would entail living elsewhere. Bringing together the family to have constructive discussions and dialogue without being judgmental. 

Academic results increased with both teens as they settled in to their new school

And so?

Nine months after the coaching began the family is moving forward in a positive way. Both teens have settled in and moved away from their 'at risk' behavior.

Rod continues to work with 'at risk' teens as well as 'self harmers' with great results.


For more than 30 years, Rod Beau has been an internationally sought-after education and management consultant and keynote speaker. His practical, real-world business experience and career have been in educational leadership, relocation consulting and executive and leadership coaching. As a Senior Consultant and Master Executive Coach, Rod is also an Accredited ANLP Trainer - specializing in Executive and Leadership Coaching. To learn more about Rod Beau, please visit www.sherpanlp.com

Source: www.sherpanlp.com

Are We Addicted Or Conditioned?

As parents I know we all want the best for our children.  However lately I have seen more children under the age of 13 showing off their visceral fat and poor posture.  They look depressed and seem to lack social skills.  Is this the new and accepted condition/addiction?

Most children in the US are overfed and undernourished.  Obviously, since the brain is the driving force within our bodies, it only logically follows that children who aren’t nourishing their bodies also aren’t nourishing their brains. I have seen first hand how kids come into the classroom with donuts and soda.  They can not learn on these non- food like substances.  Countless studies and anecdotal observations confirm a clear link between the quality of food kids eat and their academic performance.  In other words, a diet of whole foods such as broccoli and peaches will likely get you better test scores than one of soda and Twinkies. And be honest – which foods do you see more often in the lunchroom? Obese children are at an automatic disadvantage in schools.

There is also plenty of evidence linking improved academic performance to physical activity.  Those adults who have a regular exercise routine ‘routinely’ report a greater sense of productivity in their work.  Again, it only makes sense that the same would translate to our kids.  Children that spend more  time outdoors instead of stagnant time on the TV Big Box  or computers feel better about themselves and their brains and their bodies get more oxygen. Want to get those test scores up?  Pay attention to what your kids eat, and how often they get the chance to move!

Obese children will live shorter lives than their parents.  The New England Journal of Medicine reported that if the childhood obesity trends continue, this will be the first generation of children that lives shorter lives than their parents. Why are we so concerned about test scores and ignoring our students life expectancy?  Why do we think it’s more important that they score a good grade on an end of year test than that they have clean arteries, fully functioning organs, and a body that won’t betray them?  Why do we find it OK to give them a fried corn dog or fried mac & cheese?  If we already know that heart disease and type-2 diabetes shorten a person’s lifespan, why aren’t we springing into action as a nation when we realize that more and more children under the age of 10 are afflicted with these ‘adult’ conditions?  There are undeniable health risks involved with smoking, for instance.  And we’ve made great strides in combatting that deadly habit.  But our Standard American Diet is just as deadly, if not more so.  We won’t let our children smoke, but we’ll let them drink soda all day long.  I see two year olds drinking an entire can!  A regular 16 ounce can of Coke has 194 calories and a whopping 54 grams of sugar, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Causing High Triglycerides.  Not an ounce of nutrition in the can.  Think for a minute about what that does to our kids bodies, and it’s not hard to conclude they won’t live longer than us. 

Hardly any of our children eat healthy.  Various studies and reports conclude that only 2% of children in the United States eat a diet along the guidelines given by the USDA. If this is the case, it can be safely assumed that the number of children who eat according to the more nutritionally sound ‘Eat Right America’ food pyramid (which focuses on whole vegetables and fruits, not grains, as the most important foundation of a healthy diet) is statistically too small to even calculate.  Which means that so few American children eat nutrient dense foods every day, we can’t even group enough of them together for a percentage point.  This is a staggering number – or rather, lack thereof.   Most of our kids don’t eat vegetables every day, hardly any fiber, never mind the recommended several servings.

Are we going to fix this deficit with supplements?  I think not.

Fast food is on the rise.  It’s cheap, seems convenient, and to taste buds that don’t know the joys of eating whole, nourishing foods, it tastes great.  But it not only lacks the necessary nutrients for growth and proper development, it actually contains an overload of ingredients that, over time, are deadly –  trans-fats in fried foods, MSG in can soups which excite brain cells to death, white flour is glue in the intestines, processed meats, sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, dirty sodium – all slow poisons served in HUGH portions.  In April 2012, The World Cancer Research Fund  has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer.  Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness.  Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption.  Morgan Spurlock’s famous documentary “Super-Size Me” really drives home the truth of what these unhealthy food products can do to a body that’s already grown.  It’s frightening to think what it does to children.  “If you are having a “Big Mac attack,” stop and visualize what one cup of Crisco with MSG chemicals would look like spread around your thighs and brain!”  It’s become a dangerous staple of the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Diabetes is proliferating among our children, and half of all diabetic children are overweight.  Remember when Type-2 Diabetes was called ‘adult onset diabetes’?  Well, we can’t call it that anymore, because kids get it now, too. Why?  Because of the junk they eat.  According to The American Diabetes Association, the number of children diagnosed with type-2 diabetes DOUBLED between the years of 2005 and 2008.  If this doesn’t get our attention, I don’t know what will.

Connie is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach specializing in Metabolic & Endocrine health @ BiteSizePieces.net