Is it just me or do other parents cringe when their kids come you with the words ,” Mum, I need you to help me with my homework…” Now I am an exercise physiologist, Health coach and consultant, Sports coach and trainer, Business owner, and PDHPE teacher, a mum of two kids and have at 30 years more experience of living than my kids so I really should not feel concerned when they say this… but… my past struggles with fourth grade maths homework had me on edge.
“What is it?” I asked, hoping that its something simple because I was mid way making lunches, cleaning up breakfast, & getting through the usual morning routine. “I have to interview someone about their favourite book and I figured you would be better than Dad because he doesn’t really read books” he replied. Well that was true, so I could not handball this one his way. My mind began racing… while I do read more than my husband I would not say that I am an avid reader, and I did not think that what I have consumed would be in the context required of this interview. Anatomy and physiology texts, teaching pedagogy and practice, coaching techniques and strategies, diet and nutrition theory… not really what my 12 year old son was chasing… So I began to think back to my reading as a kid, and I don’t think the fairytale read-along cassette books will be of interest either. So I think to high school, when reading a novel was a chore, what was required of me in English classes, and something that I really avoided as I was more a go out and do it kind of girl, not the sit down and read it kind.
And then it hit me…I remembered the first book I ever read that made me laugh and cry out load, that I just could not put down, that I chose to lay on my bed and read rather than go outside and move, that had me so engaged in the the storyline and in sync with the characters that I could feel the words on the page.. that was the book I would speak on.
So as my son asked me questions about the characters, the plot, the storyline and why it was my favourite book, my younger daughter listened intently. When we were done she asked “but mum, I don’t get it, you said that main character lived through a nuclear war, her parents left her and her sister, she got sick in the toxic air but she still survived and took care of her sister, then she had a baby before she died and her sister had to take care of it… thats really sad… how can that be your favourite story when it doesn’t have a happy ending?”
What I explained to my children is that in life we are faced with challenges, and sometimes it will be hard… but if we are open minded to change and we learn to adapt, and if we show kindness even when faced with these challenges, we can still find joy and happiness and allow others to do the same… Just as the main character was faced with hard times, she still carried on, taking care of her sister and showing her kindness, she gave birth to a child against all odds and the baby was the love of her life, and then even in her death she knew that her kindness would be shared by her sister as she cared of her child.
The moral to the story is what was my favourite thing, the most inspiring thing. I have taken it with me and used it through many challenges in my life, study, career, relationships, business, and in particular in my heath. Now while non of these health challenges have been life threatening ( for which I am incredibly grateful) I have had my fair share… disordered eating, fatigue based illness, chronic pain, degenerative back injury leading to surgery, mental health struggles relating to my health concerns. What I have learned is that when your health is out of balance it impacts on every aspect of life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. So, the ability to be open minded to new strategies, skills and techniques, to adapt and change what we do, how we think and how we behave, and still be able to show kindness not only to others but just as importantly, to ourselves, is life changing.
And so, the homework help that I briefly dreaded, actually lead to a surprisingly insightful conversation that I am grateful for. It made me reflect, and realise that I need to revitalise my reading. And, it encouraged a conversation about the inspiration for a life lesson and a valuable moral for life.
The moral to this story is a moral for living, and has helped me realise the importance of health on every aspect of life. Health is not something we tolerate or put up with, its something we can work on to help us adapt and change for the better. Health is the life story we are all writing. While the plot my be written in our genes, we are in charge of the characters and the storyline.
So, is it time to change your story? How can you re-write it? I choose to live with my health as my priority, knowing that it will filter through every element of life. I choose to move my body and be kind to it in my thoughts and deeds. I choose to nourish myself with natural, toxin free, botanical rich, and balanced nutrients. I choose to share my past with the vision of improving the present and investing in my future. I choose to change what I can, and ask for help with that I cannot. I choose to live a life that is the moral to the story I am writing. How about you?