A Giant Leap of Faith 2/07

February 2007

babytoes

As my eldest child turns 18 I’ve become rather reflective. I’m thinking about how he’s turned into a wonderful young man. Not that I doubted he would, but there were times it was hard to imagine this day. For one thing, it seemed so far in the future. We survived the sleepless nights, runny noses and all the science fairs. . . . and now we’re back to sleepless nights!

We really have no idea what we’re getting into when we have a child, do we? It’s a giant leap of faith. I, myself, had this romantic ideal of a little bundle of joy without much thought of teenagers, or adult children for that matter.

I realize today that parenting is not just a huge commitment; it’s also a really huge investment.

Like a good investor, a good parent is in it for the long term. This is not a process that can be rushed or finished. A good parent also has faith in the process. There are no guarantees. You just gotta believe everything is going to turn out okay.

So what if we apply these investment strategies to our health? If you’re investing in your health you’re making a commitment to permanent change. You’re in it for the long term. For example:

– You aren’t fooling yourself or anyone else by looking for quick fixes, like taking garlic pills before your next doctor’s appointment in an attempt to thwart your cholesterol level.

– Instead of exercising madly in January and then quitting until spring rolls around, you make physical activity a part of the rest of your life.

– You make sustainable changes to your diet versus going “on” a diet.

When my son moves out I think I will continue to be his mother. When we’re in it for the long term, we’re never done or finished. Take a bow when you reach your goal weight, but don’t sit down. What new goal will take you beyond the weight loss?

Here’s the beauty. Long-term investment in your health yields predictably positive results, with virtually no risk. In fact, you’re removing risks. Studies show that losing even 10% body weight has a positive impact on your health and reduces risks associated with being overweight.

No matter how disappointed, frustrated or angry we might be with our children we don’t sell or dump them – though we’ve secretly considered it. Why are we so quick to give up on our health?

Having faith in the process means even though we aren’t seeing results at every turn, we know and understand that things are changing.

All the positive actions taken are adding up.

We need to be alert to all the signs of improvement, not just the obvious ones like the numbers on the weigh scale.

– Has your sleep improved?

– Are you handling stresses better?

– How is your energy level?

Know that you are doing good things for your body, even though you might not be getting certain results in a specific timeframe.

Eventually, our children become quite human, independent adults. Whether that makes you jump for joy or cry tears of sadness, remember that it was your long-term commitment and faith in them that got them to this place.

One thing I know for sure, the 18 years I’ve invested in my son has paid big dividends. Happy birthday, Marco. I believe in you.