I get asked this question a lot… how do you raise healthy kids? And it really starts with what you think health is? You cannot raise healthy kids if you don’t start with asking yourself that question. If you ‘define’ health by how you feel than you’ll be taking your kids constantly to someone, usually a ‘doctor,’ to get something to take something away and when it’s not there anymore you will deem them to be healthy again.
However are they healthy or are they simply numbed to the internal whispers their body is giving them?
Words do hold meaning and the word feel is no different. Hidden within the word feel is the word FEE. And given this ‘go to someone to get something to take ‘it’ away’ approach the fee can be in the plethora of medications you may end up on or the fee, the price you pay, can indeed be your life.
Here is a little known stat I shared on a radio interview I did recently…
People consume 14,000 medications in their lifetime and that does not include over the counter medications. If we add in over the counter medications it sky rockets to 40,000 medications per person! Now that is a mammoth amount of drugs going into your body over your lifetime. So the bigger question is do you want your child consuming that many medications in their lifetime? If your answer is ‘No!’ then you have to look at how you are defining and how you are approaching health.
When our kids were young I went to the local shopping centre and stood on a corner and asked people who walked by ‘what is health?’ The overwhelming majority of responses said health is…. having no pain, having no signs and symptoms, eating right, exercising and being happy. When I categorised all the responses and took a 10,000 ft view, which I like to do, then it’s clear that all these answers have to do with feeling states or wishing to ‘avoid’ something.
The true definition of health is ‘optimal physical, mental and social wellbeing and not necessarily the absence of disease or infirmity.’ In other words you cannot avoid dis-ease or disease in order to ‘get to’ health, it doesn’t work that way. Dis-ease and disease are a necessary part of ones development and human evolution.
Here’s what we’ve done with our kids….
1. We define health by how we function not by how we feel. And again, if you look at the word function closely, the first three letters spell FUN and life is a lot more fun when you are functioning clearly and well. In order to function well your nerve system has to be free of interference and clear in it’s communication so everything internally can function as it is designed to. Our kids have been adjusted by qualified chiropractors (us!) because chiropractors are trained to work closely and intricately with your nerve system. So the kids have been adjusted minutes after they were born and every Friday morning since their birth. The kids over the years have been adjusted twice a week or more depending on what they had going on but they (and we) are adjusted because everything is right not because something is wrong. As such our kids have never had a medication – prescribed, over the counter or scheduled. A well functioning body can adapt to life. Never forget you are a self healing, self regenerating, self regulating and self maintaining organism that is constantly adapting to your environment and it’s your nerve system that you use to help sense the world around you and enable adaptation. So making sure your kids and you are free of interference is a healthy step in the right direction.
2. Exercise (MOVE). We’ve had our kids out in the sunshine, swimming at the beach and playing sport as well as dance and musical theatre over the years. But essentially the point here is we move as a family and engage in activities that enable us to be outside and enjoying nature too.
3. Organic food fresh from the garden (EAT). We have made everything from scratch since the kids were first born and we’ve been an organic household since 1991. Many people are concerned with the cost of organic food and I agree it can be expensive at times but if you have a garden start to grow your own or tap into your local farmers market or farmer who you can buy direct from. We have a saying ‘pay now or pay later’ and we have consciously chosen to pay now for our family’s health rather than later.
4. Awesome conversations (THINK). Forever and a day we have chatted with our kids. During the day if it was something really big and important to them we would ask them to ‘pop it on the table’ at dinner for us all to chat about. The beauty of these conversations saw us all grow as a family. We all, over the years, have had a tremendous amount of input into each others lives and home education also afforded us more time together… as a family. The longest one of our ‘pop it on the table’ conversations went for was five hours. Conversations with kids are not to be rushed, they are to be relished, everyone learns something new about their own life when question, after question can be asked. I have made up a collection of our stories for you to read if you would like to demonstrating the twists and spins we put on the questions they were asking or the challenges they were exploring. It is called ‘A Parent’s Lesson’ and you can find it here. And we were not separate from the conversations we had, in other words this was not something we did just with the kids. If there was something we wanted the family input into we too would ‘pop it on the table.’ We have always come from the belief that we are a family unit, a tree with many branches, and having the challenges and opportunities discussed together helps everyone.
5. Home education. We didn’t watch the idiot box (TV) when the kids were young and they didn’t get any device until at least twelve years old. School was mastered in conversations at the beach whilst surfing, at the park whilst passing and kicking a ball, on the netball court doing drills, cooking and baking in the kitchen, long rides in the car exploring the countryside, and when tucking them into bed… and everything in between. Home education never stops… the education starts from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to sleep. We called it Inspired Learning. We felt our job was to be the observer of them and discover what they would naturally gravitate to and guide them and open doors for them in that direction. And if I look at what they were doing when they were young and what they are doing now as older teenagers and young adults I can say it really hasn’t changed all that much. I asked our middle boy the other day ‘what did you love about your home education?’ and he said ‘I was able to grow up the way I wanted to grow up’ and our youngest said ‘I was able to experience real life situations through parental guidance.’
So there you have it the top 5 things we did (and still do) with our kids regularly that were game changes for our family – adjustments, home education, conversations, great food and outdoor movement!
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Since 1990 Drs Randall & Sarah Farrant have been global mentors to thousands of individuals, families, health professionals, celebrities and sporting personalities. They have facilitated and inspired people to live a vitalistic life.