Sometimes I wonder if my teenaged son is absorbing what I teach him about health, or if he’s just too annoyed with me and absorbed with “fitting in” to care. Yesterday after double header baseball games, one of the coaches ranted at the boys about the huge mess they’d made in the dugout, with all their candy wrappers and trash from snack-bar nachos, hot dogs, and sodas. Cade had, at the game, a green smoothie and two whole-grain sandwiches (as usual).
On the way home, Cade was telling me about the dressing down the team had received. I said, “What they SHOULD have gotten is a dressing down about what effect their eating habits are having on their game.” That would never happen, of course, because adults don’t want to lecture kids when their own health habits are terrible. And of course, it’s a taboo subject. But some boys on the team have recently had surgery for rampant, years-long infection, some have seriously stunted growth, and several keep breaking bones including growth plates.
The week before, I had talked to Cade about the sunflower seeds he’d been eating, week after week, for several years. You’re thinking, but sunflower seeds are good, right? Not the kind the baseball players eat. And I hadn’t said anything much because my son already feels like a bit of a sore thumb in the dugout, eating the stuff I bring him.
But my son has recently developed some seasonal allergies, and he has a bit of acne. I told him that his massive refined-salt consumption eating those salted seeds every week is contributing to these two problems that are making him miserable. Furthermore, I explained that MSG is in those packages of Dill Pickle and BBQ flavored seeds. No wonder all the kids and coaches are addicted!
I never buy the seeds for him, but he’s always eaten handfuls of the ones in the dugout, purchased by others. He stands out in right field spitting seed shells. But yesterday, my son told me he didn’t eat ANY. I’m really happy that he listens to and values what I say, since my other kids “get it,” but I sometimes wonder about him.
Keep talking, and do it away from the situation (I didn’t march up to him in the dugout and lecture him). Someone once said, “Teach people correct principles and let them govern themselves.” They make mistakes, but they come around if you keep teaching.