My natural proclivities tend toward optimism.
During these past three years of pandemic disruptions, though, I’ve had to remind myself more than once of the old joke about “there’s a pony in there somewhere.”
As I visit with folks, parents and grandparents, we’re beginning to see the pony. It really is there!
Our pony has emerged from our pile of manure, frisky and ready to go, a joke no more.
This pony represents our journey as we move ahead, creating new ways of living our lives and going about our everyday activities.
It’s becoming obvious, what worked for us in the past may not work today.
From the food we eat, to the priorities we put on relationships, to the schools we want for our children and ourselves, to the opportunities we want for those lacking financial and social resources, to the teaching methods we use, to the courage we’ll need to face the obstacles on our way…we need to find a new way.
This pony symbolizes our desire to move toward the positive and the best, in ourselves, our families, our communities and our world.
This pony personifies our loving intention to make a better world for our children.
Our work as adults is to remove obstacles to development for our children.
Today’s children have many more obstacles in their way than most of us had.
Obstacle 1: It begins with the food they eat.
Sixty-six percent of the food our children eat in the United States is ultra-processed, full of sugar and unhealthy fats.
This type of diet leads to the fact that 88% of adults are metabolically unhealthy with over 60% of adults having one or more chronic diseases.
Solution: Understand that your choices in the store and in the kitchen—the food that you eat—determine your underlying health.
Eat real food and avoid ultra-processed foods that are filled with sugar and unhealthy fats.
Obstacle 2: Our children are living in a climate of pessimism.
In our culture, the doom and gloom rhetoric of various groups, the pandemic lockdowns, along with the political discord, affect the well-being of our children. They deserve a vision of hope, love and positive growth.
Solution: Every generation has had problems to solve. Our children can be the heroes in the story of their lives. It’s our job to inspire them and be role models.
Obstacle 3: Our children are dealing with parents and grandparents with chronic diseases.
If 60% of adults have a chronic disease, it means many of our children are robbed of having parents that can be there for them.
Solution: Take control of your health and your family’s health. Learn to be healthy.
Obstacle 4: Children are struggling in schools that are not meeting their educational needs.
Teaching methods, curriculum, discipline issues and more are keeping many of our children from learning the basics.
This is evidenced in the fact that 51% of adults cannot read above a 5th grade level.
Solution: Advocate for educational freedom where all children have a choice of what kind of school they will attend.
Insist that children be taught reading using systematic phonics.
Obstacle 5: Most parents have no choice about where their children go to school.
Administrators for our state run schools decide where children go to school, when they’ll go to school, and what they’ll be taught in school.
Parents have little if no say about their children’s education.
Solution: Work to pass legislation that puts parents in control of their children’s educational choices.
Obstacle 6: Most of us are dealing with attention issues due to being interrupted by phone technology.
Our emails, social media, video games, and more, are designed to steal our attention.
Learning to focus our attention builds our ability to concentrate and create true learning. Sadly, pings, dings and rings break that concentration, creating a huge obstacle for childhood development and parent/child relationships.
Solution: Learn about strategies to minimize technology interruptions.
Our children are dealing with more obstacles than this, and I’m certain you’ve seen more, too.
Over the past few weeks I’ve shared resources on ways to remove these obstacles for our children.
Our work as adults is to prepare the environment and remove obstacles to development for our children. It is not an easy job, but then, nothing worth doing ever is.
Are you with me?
Pony up! Let’s get going!