Putting My Oxygen Mask On First – Children & Your Health

As many of you know, my kids turned 18 a few months ago. I remember a time when I desperately needed a break from being around young children for my health. But as my kids have gotten older, my interactions with young children are less frequent. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent more time with young kids and it reminded me of how important that is for my health.

  1. Young kids remind you to have fun. As adults we tend to take life and ourselves too seriously. Young children remind us the importance of having fun. Connect with the kids in your life this summer for instant fun. In the last two weeks, I relaxed and had fun during an epic water balloon fight, playing washers (a game similar to horseshoes), and enjoying a parade.
  2. They are able to go with the flow. At the Lights for Liberty vigil on Friday night, the organizers planned to end the evening playing a song while everyone reflected on the words. The audio stopped working and the organizers were urgently trying to fix it. Four young kids finally stepped up and said they wanted to sing. They led us all in “This Little Light of Mine” – and it couldn’t have been more perfect. They reminded me that our plans don’t always go the way we want, and instead of trying to force something, we should accept it and move on. Often the unplanned ends up being way better than anything we could ever plan for or imagine…like that magical sing along.
  3. Kids are in the moment. Young children don’t get caught up in their thoughts and emotions. They live in the moment, and they express their emotions and move on. They don’t hold grudges, and they don’t let one thing going wrong ruin their day.
  4.  Kids are in constant wonder. They are fascinated by everything – and see things for the treasures they truly are. They can see the beauty in a dandelion, a stone, or a bug. They notice and appreciate the small things.
  5. They understand we are all connected. On the way home from the Lights for Liberty vigil, we had the pleasure of riding in a Lyft with a young girl named Miracle and her mom. Miracle talked to us from the moment we got in the car until the Lyft got to her house. As we arrived, she invited us all to come in and spend more time with her. (We didn’t take her up on it – the rest of us didn’t have as much energy.) She found the things that we all had in common – love of rollercoasters and vegetables – and created an instant bond between the Lyft driver, Miracle, her mom, my son and me. Miracle views everyone as a friend – and figures out how to best connect with her new friends.

Go spend some time with your little neighbors, nieces/nephews, grand kids so they can remind you of what is really important

Our health is also impacted by how we treat children – ALL CHILDREN – not just those that look, sound and act like us. If you are feeling sadness or anger about some of the ways children are mistreated in our country, don’t repress those feelings.  Use those feelings to fuel action to drive change.

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