An Open Letter to Parents and Educators Who Refuse to Give Up on Childhood Obesity Prevention
One of our biggest challenges is finding adults (i.e. parents and educators, including physical educators) who actually believe that today’s kids can be systematically motivated enough to tackle a difficult task like learning to do pull ups, in front of their peers and stick with it week after week, month, after month, all year long, until they naturally immunize themselves against obesity for life.
That is to say, it’s easy for most adults agree with the claim that kids who can do pull ups are never obese. Most have witnessed that during their school years. Furthermore they also agree with the claim that those kids who successfully learn to do pull ups have naturally immunized themselves against obesity for life as long as they maintain the ability, because they intuitively know that people who can do pull ups can’t be obese.
Too Much for Them to Swallow
But to think that today’s generation of couch potato laden, video gamed, fast food oriented kids can be systematically motivated enough to take the action necessary to learn to do pull ups is just more than most parents or educators can swallow. And when adults really believe that it can’t be done, the world’s simplest solution to childhood obesity never even gets a chance to succeed. As we all know, when you fail to try at anything, failure becomes a foregone conclusion, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Aimed at Adults Who Refuse to Quit on Kids
With all that said, this message is aimed at those unique parents and educators who refuse to believe that today’s kids are just too lethargic, too preoccupied, too self absorbed, and too lazy to tackle a difficult task like pull ups, in front of their peers, week after week, month after month, all year long until they finally succeed. If you refuse to swallow this conventional indoctrination then consider the following scenario.
A Two Factor Problem
Childhood obesity can be boiled down into two simple factors. If kids eat better and exercise more, there are very few of them who are unable to eliminate obesity from their lives for ever and ever. That being the case, the issue can be boiled down even further. Childhood obesity prevention is all about motivating kids to eat better and exercise more. Yes, it’s all about motivation, motivation, and more motivation.
The Two Components of Motivation
Motivation in this case has two components including regular, documented progress, and regular peer approval/celebration. In other words, in this program most participants can actually see themselves growing a little bit stronger (it’s documented twice a week) week after week for eight, ten, and even twelve consecutive weeks before they reach a point where the workload becomes seriously challenging. Most kids then are easily motivated by experiencing a regular (and tangible) return on their investments of time and effort week after week, month after month, all year long.
Not only that, every time they finish a set of pull ups they get high fives and are congratulated by their peers and teachers for eight, ten, or twelve straight weeks. Under these conditions it doesn’t take long for these kids to understand that succeeding in public at a difficult task in front of your friends is FUN, and it’s something to take pride in.
And When the Going Gets Tough
Under these conditions, when the challenge increases and the going gets tough, these same kids will dig down a little deeper in order to find a way to keep that regular success and public adulation flowing freely. It’s cool. And once they recognize that they’re so close to the finish line, you’d be amazed at how dedicated these 21st century kids can be to mastering the art of pulling their own weight. That level of dedication I like to call Relentless Persistence and it’s the key of keys to winning in life.
But When the Adults Fail to Believe…
But the unique experience of seeing kids develop their own personalized edition of relentless persistence is only possible when the adults who work with them cough up the conventional (no we can’t) kool-aid and understand that 21st century kids want to succeed just as much as generations of kids before them. You just have to present them with the right opportunity in the right light and let them get after it. In the process they’ll naturally immunize themselves against obesity for life by learning to physically handle their own weight. A greater educational achievement would be hard to imagine.