1. have a website,
2. are out to save my heart,
3. and write to tell me about it.
But today, I was struck by the importance of what this patient had to say. At her neighborhood elementary school near my practice, there are some amazing kids and the grown-ups who teach them. Great ideas at this school are part of everyday learning, and they’re ones that make for healthier and wiser children. In the end, the best learning is the kind that leads to more than passing test scores.
Out in front of their school, parents, faculty and the children have planted a vegetable garden. It seems that they have also begun to extend the idea of eating more fruits and vegetables to overall heart health, and thus my story for today.
I’d like to think that someone is helping to extend the idea that eating the fruits and vegetables is connected to a healthy heart. In my imaginary look at the children, I see one of the tech-savvy fifth graders bringing information about the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart. With just a wee bit of encouragement and permission from a forward-thinking administration, the children are off to raise money for a great cause. They build their websites, collect donations and jump rope in a way that ensures that each can grow from an experience that shouts: “We can ALL make a difference for causes that count.”
One of my many cherished books is called The World Needs Your Kid (Raising Children Who Care and Contribute) by Craig and Marc Kielburger. It’s a collection of essays by many famous authors interwoven with the authors’ own life story. These young men, regular kids from a regular, middle class neighborhood, founded Free the Children and Me To We, both international efforts to empower young people to live lives of service to others. (As an aside they’re raising money for Mamas of the World if you’re looking for an idea for a Mother’s Day gift! Why not send them a donation in your mother’s honor?)
As a physician for children and a mother, I am often reminded that my life is one of service to others. It’s a great feeling knowing that I come to work to make a difference in the life of children every day.
I am mailing my contribution, and I know that my heart is in the right place. Even more than that, I’m delighted that this group of children and the grown ups who care about them are just around the corner from my practice working on healthy things. I couldn’t be happier that they are the next generation of philanthropists, that they’re growing and eating vegetables and they’re jumping rope to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Healthy is…as healthy does!
So what shall we teach your children about healthy living today?