Thinking Out Loud – Ep: 18 – Calling All Parents

Welcome to “Thinking Out Loud” with Dr. Joe Currier!  Here, we’ll be regularly sharing Dr. Joe’s latest groundbreaking insights.

If you’re a busy parent, you know how easy it can be to lean into technology in order to get work done or have a few minutes to yourself.

While technology and screens are wonderful tools, Dr. Joe reminds us that there’s much, much more to life than what’s on the screen.

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Episode Transcript:

Andrew J. Mason:
This is “Thinking out Loud” with Dr. Joe Courier, episode 18, “Calling All Parents.” Welcome to “Thinking Out Loud” with Dr. Joe Courier. My name’s Andrew J. Mason, and this is the show where we hit the pause button on life, head to the locker room for some life-changing halftime inspiration, and then zoom back in and grab the tactics direct from Dr. Joe’s playbook to pull it all together when we’re on the field. If you’re a busy parent, you know how easy it can be to lean into technology in order to get work done or have a few minutes to yourself. While technology and screens are wonderful tools, Dr. Joe reminds us that there’s much, much more to life than what’s on the screen.

Dr. Joe Currier:
Many of our children are not growing up healthy or happy. Instead, our young ones are developing habits and living a lifestyle that embed and gradually escalate physical illnesses that can shorten the quality and quantity of their precious lives. Regardless of age, every day matters in life. Wait, every moment, not just every day matters. Take a thoughtful, responsible look with me at the frightening statistics families face. In just two generations, the rate of coronary heart disease has increased by over 500%. Adult illness statistics like this may not surprise you, but do you know that current data show that 98% of children between the ages of seven and 12 have at least one heart disease risk factor? Hold onto your seats. 13% have five or more symptoms. What makes us erroneously believe that we’re living significantly longer than previous generations are the medical victories over childhood diseases and birthing deaths. Thank to good Lord, it’s rare for youngsters to die from illnesses like whooping cough, measles, polio, and pneumonia. However, for those who make it through their early childhood years, the typical lifespan is similar to our ancestors as far back as the first century AD. Over the last 2000 years, the average lifespan has only grown by three years. Let’s get busy. The frightening fact speak for themself. The average individual in power society, young and old, is often too physically inactive, eats too fast and too much of the wrong food, and struggles with stress, isolation, and aggravation. The three A’s are a literal prescriptive, if parents hope to raise a well, strong child. Action, action, action. Many kids today live a life similar to a potted plant. They sit, they stare, and they vegetate. Physical inactivity is a byproduct of what they’re staring at, a screen of one type or another, whether it TV, an iPad, an iPhone, a computer monitor, the outcome is the same, cardiovascular flat lining. The only exercises child gets while gazing into the great digital beyond, is when they yawn or walk to take a quick snack or bathroom break. The fact is that kids can be held hostage by their imagination. I’m not talking about the bedtime stories that you as a parent read at night to help your children go to sleep peacefully to drift off often these wonderful, restful dream states. I’m also not talking of the kind that produces creative thoughts and new knowledge. I’m referring to digital representations that produce a hypnotic-like, kaleidoscopic, kinetic imagery produced by passive keyboard strikes with no real benefit to a child’s physical or social wellbeing, other than as if they were limbering their fingers up for a piano recital. Now, this is not an all or nothing criticism. In fact, it’s not meant as a criticism at all. Merely a reminder. Computers and digital hardware are incredible additions for fun, learning, and communication. My concern is when they get out of balance, at-risk youngsters are one step above a vegetative state as a result of moving images on a computer screen rather than moving their developing bodies, actively playing and socializing in a great outdoors, for example. Wellness opportunities including active game of kickball, “tag, you’re it,” “watch how high I can climb,” “follow me,” or any other activities that produce giggles, hoots, and competitive bragging rights to the most recent playground victory. Parents, when you pass a ball to a child, rather than simply giving them a thumbs up when they’re quietly out of the way, because I know how busy you are. But remember, the must do busy schedules that you have has to make sure that it doesn’t put a child into a quiet place where they are not moving, they’re not learning. They’re simply kind of in a hypnotic state. We believe that wise elders like you in every community have an opportunity to be active wellness leaders during these challenging times. Integrate digital learning entertainment into a child’s active social play time without allowing it to kidnap your child and take them away on a digital spaceship. Watch the clock for addictive potential to sit and stare. Integrate a learning entertaining series of activities where kids grow, they giggle and have fun, but they’re not replacing or being neglectful of active play. Get yourself a whistle and call a timeout as in out of doors. Include some personal time, active time, for yourself too. Why should kids have all the fun? You’re never too old for an active childhood do-over of your own. Let’s start with an active set of healthy ABCs. Here’s a few of ours, and when we close, take some time to think out loud and develop your own with your kids. ABCs of mind, body wellbeing. A, attitude. Help by building a child’s authentic self by playing through the lens of a positive attitude, not just outcome. Defining success by a specific score can sometimes cause an ouch to one’s ego. “Did you do your best?” Let’s keep trying to improve performance, but let’s not forget the B, best effort. When competing, coach kids to strive to simply do their best and avoid abusive self-talk like, “I’m such a loser.” How about this, “I lose at times, but I’m never a loser”? “Oh, and when I lose, there’s another L, I learn important moves to improve my performance.” Here are a few other Bs, and have fun with whatever you choose. Have a ball, a bicycle, a balloon. Find something that can create some activity. Last but not least is the C, for clocks. Clocks are needed to boil eggs. We need them for a lot of other things. But let your body decide when the play and when to rest. In fact, with a clock in mind, it’s time for me to move on. Let’s get physically active with your young ones. And if you agree, here we go. Ready, set, go.

Andrew J. Mason:
I so appreciate that message, Dr. Joe. And honestly, part of the biggest challenge for parents, I think, is just is minimizing the unintentional consequences of choices that we make in order to not just be exhausted. So the fast food, what advice do you have for the parents that are kind of going through it right now with, “You know what, just easier options are needed right now.” Do you have any solutions there?

Dr. Joe Currier:
Andrew, there are so many, and please, I’m not dismissing, and I’m certainly not challenging the pressure on working parents. I take my hat off to you. I’m also not deputizing the nutrition police here. Foods should be and can be fun. At time, it needs to be fast. It’s the hope of building better health habits, like appreciating some of the natural nutritious snacks like a slice of apples rather than candy bars. Going on a sugar-haunted time to see we’re taking too much of the sweets that are not good for the body. They over-energize the child not in a healthy way.

Andrew J. Mason:
I can buy that. Let’s talk about the digital side of that as well. As a parent, it’s sometimes so easy just to lean into something that gives you a minute to yourself, some form of digital babysitting that captures the child’s attention, that they’re physically safe but mentally may or may not be engaged. Talk us through some options there.

Dr. Joe Currier:
Just like better food choices, the digital highway has relaxation options. There’s a lot of good stuff in the computer that can teach children how to focus on relaxing the mind and the body. There are creative learning stops that produce important life lessons. Working parents can also share their backyards. Sometimes there’s more than one parent in the community that’s working from home these days, and what , that we can kind of build a team to supervise playtime, so that times where a parent may be indoors a child could be out door safely. And where I can’t take all the time to go out and supervise the play, we can kind of play tag between the parents, for example.

Andrew J. Mason:
Honestly, one of the biggest benefits to this conversation for me right now is knowing that there are options. You start doing things a certain way and forget that there are other ways to do it. So that’s really helpful. Do you have any more resources or ideas that maybe we could take on to say, Hey, there’s some creativity we can apply here”?

Dr. Joe Currier:
Absolutely. One of them is the idea that the human body is an extremely unique machine, and it’s one of the only machines that actually get stronger and more effective the more you use it, if and when you use it properly. And one of the things we use is what we call the FIT formula, FIT, frequency, intensity, and time. Frequency doesn’t necessarily mean more, more, more, but it means, again, within reasonable periods every day, we need some sense of intensity where we get the muscles moving, we get the heart pumping, and we look for the concept of time where the heart is pumping for, let’s say, up to 15 or 20 minutes or so. And again, it’s not meant in terms of something like a marathon that you’re pushing for that last little bit, it’s called fun. So the frequency, intensity, and time, some part of a child’s play needs to be active and it creates, again, the raised healthy heart, the muscle exertion. The idea here that games like “tag, you’re it” are examples of raising heart rate, keeping kids in touch, and I mean literally in touch with each other. “Tag, you’re it.”

Andrew J. Mason:
That is perfect. Thank you Dr. Joe.

Dr. Joe Currier:
All right. Thank you. Blessings on your way, my friend.

Andrew J. Mason:
And thank all of you for listening as well. We’d so appreciate your feedback. Remember to subscribe to us in iTunes, and until next time, this was “Thinking Out Loud” with Dr. Joe Currier. Leadership transformation, growth acceleration.