Monday, February 01, 2010
I absolutely know we influence the children we teach in many ways, but I am discovering the influence of life style on the children of my class. It isn't that I saw any unflattering reflection of my personal habits before, but it has been very interesting to see how my being more attentive to my health has affected children in my class.
I don't make a big deal of it, but the children are just so observant! I have been bringing my green smoothies to work for my midmorning and mid-afternoon snacks, so I don't jones for chocolate when I get home in the afternoon. Without fail, a child will be right next to me as I pour my smoothie, and ask,'What's that?', usually with a tone that indicates I might as well be drinking raw sewage. I'll pour a little in a cup for the child and ask how s/he likes it. Every time, the response has been very enthusiastic. I only say what is in it after the child has tried it. I already know my students' allergies, so I don't fear giving someone something they shouldn't have. Already several parents have asked for recipes and a few of my students are bringing green smoothies to lunch.
Then the other day, when I took my class bowling, a child discovered the pedometer I wear to track steps and miles. The inevitable "What's that?" ensued. I explained what it is and why I wear it. For the next couple of days she kept checking to see how far I'd gone. And guess what... now a couple of the children have pedometers.
These are the subtle things that children can pick up and emulate from exposure. It has been fun to watch their interest in nutrition and fitness unfold from the quiet example I have set without setting out to be an example. We are role models, good or bad. A conscious positive change in attentiveness to health and well being can have an unexpected ripple effect.