What Children Teach Us About Health

Some of you reading this may be enjoying your pinnacle years of health. Others may be struggling with a difficult diagnosis. Still others may feel trapped in a cycle of bad habits. Regardless where you are, one of the key points of living with health is living each moment to the fullest. It is pivotal that we take the moment in front of us, and live that moment with hope. Sometimes our best intentions of planning ahead for our health can rob of us of the happiness of our health TODAY. As a healthcare provider, I wanted to remind us all of some key concepts from the science of health, that I have learned time and again from caring for children:

Stop and appreciate each breath, regardless of your future goals.
Trust others more freely. Let yourself be filled with hope by embracing a child like faith in LOVE and LIFE.
Don’t worry about tomorrow. Plan for tomorrow’s health, but, appreciate what you have now.

Children are notorious for embracing the moment, regardless of what lies ahead. They are notorious for trusting implicitly. That must be why there are so many illustrations of embracing child like faith. The evidence is clear that strength in the moment comes from a mental agility and mindfulness of the present. Trust and hope in the moment are essential to health. Today’s tip reminders are inspired by a young Piraha boy I cared for in the Amazon jungles of Brazil:

I had been assigned to work with a community health group, screening for malaria in rural areas of northwestern Brazil. One of our tasks was to test for malaria, and treat the cases we found. I expected to be treating bedridden patients, with high fevers, depleted from all energy. Instead what I found were many children who were playing soccer in the fields, while testing positive for malaria! In attempt to treat each individual case, I called a young boy, Joao, into the clinic. His blood level of malaria was high, but, not his energy or zeal for life. He was about 7 years old, and his frailness hid behind his intense energy. I told his mom he had malaria, and that he would need to take the medicine to treat it for a few days. As we checked his temperature, his high fever was a surprise to me. He was so energetic, and seemed to face such a difficult disease without a care in the world! I can even remember him begging his mother to let him finish his game of soccer before he started the malaria medication!. He lived moment by moment, and it was obvious he had grown accustomed to appreciating whatever opportunity life gave him, with or without malaria.

I hope Joao’s story reminds you to appreciate today’s health as you HOPE for your health goals. I have learned from patients in every facet of life that this is where HOPE begins. From the cradle to the grave, we can appreciate each breath we have been given with a childlike faith for each moment!

 

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