Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Two Cents on Healthy Children

My brother and sister-in-law introduced a new Somero to the world today. His name is Jonathan Isaac Somero and he weighed 9 pounds, 12 ounces at birth and was 22 inches long.


On a related note, you'll see a link to Bonnie Harris Connective Parenting below because I discovered her work a few years ago when I dated someone with a then five year old son. I felt strongly that I needed to learn how to make a positive influence in her son's life. Bonnie's work resonates with me and surprisingly, many of the points that she makes work very well in the workplace, too.

But I digress.

One of my co-workers is passionate about fatherhood of his twin sons. We rode to lunch today to meet a mutual friend and we discussed the effort in our society to 'Say No to Drugs!' and 'Don't Drink and Drive' messages that pervade our media.

This is all critical, effective messaging.

While we discussed these topics, we started seeing room for growth and it was clear in our dialog that we as individuals and we as a greater society can do more.

Our thoughts centered on why kids turn to drugs and alcohol and what we might do to alleviate the need to take drugs and drink to excess rather than simply stop the self-destructive behavior.

Aside - I worked at IBM with a native Hawaiian who taught me a phrase 'nana i ke kumu' that means 'look to the source'. Sadly, Bob passed away from brain cancer during my tenure at IBM, but I'll always remember him imploring me, 'Always look to the source for the root of the problem, Tim. Nana i ke kumu. Don't stop until you find the source.'

As my co-worker and I talked, a few general concepts became clear. When emotionally and physically depleted, all humans are susceptible to self-destructive behavior. And if we human suffered chronic neglect, abuse, or stress in the past, that too, could lead someone to self-destructive behavior.

Our simplistic approach to extend 'Say No to Drugs!' would be to put children's needs first and foremost. Start with satisfying physical needs - nutrition, exercise, sleep - and move into satisfying emotional needs - comfort, affection, consistent and fair discipline, love.

Identify and satisfy the child's needs while the opportunity exists during the natural co-dependency of a child on adults. The desired long-term outcome is a removal of the pre-conditions that lead to taking drugs and drinking to excess. We produce healthier children.

But most importantly, we protect and preserve our greatest American natural resource - ourselves and our children.

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