Dinner in the Bathtub?

You’ve made it to the end of an incredibly long day. You’re stressed, tired and hungry. You draw a warm bath and put weird oils and salts in it. You slip in to the bath and relax. Then you grab the huge plate of food that you just made for yourself — roast, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and some fruit — and dump it in the bath with you. You eat the soggy food that now tastes like soap until all that’s left are some little meat chunks from the roast and some pieces of broccoli florets. Mmmmmmmmm boy.

Wait. Did you lose me at the food in the bath?

What? You don’t eat dinner in the bathtub?

Fine. If you’re not cool with that, then how about getting some kettlebells and a jump rope. Maybe a slam ball and an abmat. Taking all that stuff with you to your car…and getting a great workout inside your Honda Fit.

No?

Would you consider planning your wedding not on a beach or in a church, but in a large city sewer?

No?! So PICKY!

If all of these scenarios seem weird to you, they should. I’ve described activities and environments that don’t belong together.

You don’t eat dinner in the bath. You don’t workout inside your car. You don’t get married standing in poop.

You also shouldn’t try to sleep in an environment not designed or set up for sleep.

And you can think whatever you want about the topic, but the fact of the matter is that you will not get the best sleep you can unless you are in an environment that allows you to get great sleep.

Have no idea what I’m talking about?

Here are some things to think about when considering your sleep environment through the lens of our five senses.

  • Sight

This is a biggie and one that most people are deviant on. Your room should be as close to pitch black as humanly possible. TV on when you’re getting ready for bed? Turn it off. TV in your room at all? Take it out. Is that too crazy of a thing to consider? That’s cool — but you won’t ever get the sleep you were designed to get and that you NEED to be the healthiest version of yourself.

Is there a bright alarm clock next to your bed? Unplug it or put something over it to shut that light down. Street light outside creeping through your curtains or blinds? Get some blackout curtains that Dikembe Mutumbo it right back outside … NOT IN MY HOUSE!

The slightest amount of unnatural light in your room can affect your sleep. And it doesn’t matter if your eyes are closed. Your eyelids are permeable so light exposure with closed eyes still gets to your brain. And this doesn’t just apply to light in your room during sleep. The light exposure you get 1-2 hours BEFORE you hit the sack are critical too. Cut out that artificial light.

  • Touch

Think about what happens to the temperature outside when the sun goes down…it also goes down. Even in the hottest environments like a desert, the temp drops drastically. So doesn’t it make sense that our body temperature also drops when it’s time to count sheep? And I bet sheep’s body temp goes down, too…

Once you nod your head in agreement about that point, then you should also understand that it makes sense to make your room as cold as possible. Is it more comfortable to sleep in a cold room or a super hot, muggy room? Right. It makes sense.

The other thing with touch are your sheets. Ever tried to sleep on old, rough, scratchy sheets? Yeah, it’s miserable. It’s like trying to sleep in your jeans. Invest in some sheets that are nice and smooth and silky on your skin. Silk pajamas anyone?

  • Hear

This is a no-brainer. Well it should be anyway. Loud noises or weird unnatural noises can affect your sleep. Anyone out there have a newborn? Then you know how important noise control can be. Babies wake up when you clean out that stupid icemaker that’s stopped working — and you wake up when baby cries. At least I hope you do anyway.

Live out in the country? Skip to the next point.

But if you live in a city with noise that isn’t constant enough to just soak into the background, you should consider getting a fan or other type of constant noise maker to cut out the erratic, unnatural noises.

  • Smell

Babies wake up when they poop their pants. Adults do too I guess. Is it because the poop in their diaper is uncomfortable on their skin (touch)? Or is it because of the horrid smell? Maybe both?

I love me some pot roast cooking in a crock pot, but if it’s cooking overnight in the house it’s hard for me to sleep. My wife has trouble sleeping sometimes when I’m having issues with my gastrointestinal system…know what I’m saying?

Smells in your sleep environment matter. My wife is all into the oils and always has pleasant aromas diffusing in our bedroom which I’m a fan of (I just have to make sure it’s not emitting an unnatural light!). If you’re not a crazy snake oil lady or married to one, then just make sure you have clean sheets that have been washed in nice smelling soap…and put those empty tuna cans out with the trash and not under your pillow.

  • Taste

This one is a stretch because most people aren’t sucking on lollipops while they’re sleeping, but we’ll take it back a few hours from the time of sleep — you don’t want to eat a huge meal right before bedtime. That can affect your blood sugar, digestion and therefore, sleep.

Oh, but you’re always getting food cravings late at night and need to eat something? OK, that’s easy. GO TO BED EARLIER! Eat a good dinner 3-4 hours before your bedtime, cut out the artificial lights, and go to sleep when you start to feel drowsy. Fighting through that feeling and keeping yourself awake with coffee or bright light exposure will tell your body that it was mistaken, it’s not actually nighttime, so it will stop making you feel drowsy and start making you feel…you guessed it, hungry.

If you REALLY want to get better sleep, you need to decide to make the changes in your sleep environment that are necessary to allow your body to do it’s thing in the sleep realm.

Don’t workout out in your car. Don’t eat dinner in the bathtub. And don’t try to sleep in a room that is not set up for an optimal sleep experience.

Hanging out with Mr. Wonderful

mrwonderful

We all know him. He’s the guy that likes to brag about himself a lot. He’s cocky. He’s flashy. He’s good-looking.

He struts.

There is no way he would ever do a set at the weight-room NOT in front of a mirror and NOT wearing a sleeveless shirt.

He drives a red convertible and regularly goes to a tanning salon.

He might even have a shirt that he wears that says something like “strongest man alive” or “world arm-wrestling champion.”

He is … Mr. Wonderful.

Is this guy a bad person? Not necessarily.

Is it OK to be friends with a guy like him? Sure, why not.

Would you choose to spend time with him everyday, numerous times a day, for the rest of your life? Probably not.

Is this guy a perfect personification of foods that have health claim labels on them? Oh yeah.

[If you are married to Mr. Wonderful, please send your hate-mail to Sarah@Delete.com]

Labels that claim foods are healthy: don’t even get me started. Chocolate cupcakes claiming that they’re a good source of calcium.

Frosted cereals saying they can improve attentiveness and your child’s immune system.

Vitamin donuts!

No trans fat!

Gluten free!

Organic!

Made with REAL FRUIT!

You’ve seen them all.

How about this new confusing one from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which has a program and website called eatright.org and a page specifically for kids called Kids Eat Right.

So here’s what happened: Kraft Singles is endorsing the Kids Eat Right program, not the other way around. But the Kids Eat Right logo is on the package.

So what are unsuspecting parents going to think when they see a “Kids Eat Right” logo on the cheese?

“Well, these must be healthy for kids!” Then they make it an everyday part of their kids’ diet.

Is it OK to give your kids Kraft Cheese Singles every once in a while? Sure. Just like it’s OK to hang out with Mr. Wonderful — every once in a while. [Apologies to Mr. Wonderful’s wife]

This is just another way that food labels can lead you astray which is why I love the Michael Pollan rule: don’t eat anything that can make a health claim. Cheese (and it’s sad that I have to specify “real cheese” here) should have 2-4 ingredients. Kraft Singles has 19.

Sorry Kraft Singles — don’t mean to be singling you out. You were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The strongest guys in the world don’t walk around telling everyone they’re the strongest guys in the world.

Michael Jordan doesn’t introduce himself to people by saying, “Hi. I’m Michael Jordan. I’m the best basketball player who ever lived” (no debate here people — it’s Jordan).

Olympic Gold medalists don’t walk around with their medals around their necks (for the most part — there ARE exceptions here, just like there are some OK foods that make health claims).

Or imagine this one, “Hi I’m Paul McCartney. I’m a REALLY good musician.”

People or things that are the best or do good stuff for us don’t have to tell us. They let their actions speak for themselves. They don’t ask for respect — they demand it.

So back to Mr. Wonderful — you know, the guy who loves to brag about himself.

Being around him 24/7 will eventually lead you to think that walking into on-coming traffic is a good idea, so you have to pace yourself with time spent around him.

Just like you have to limit the times that you are around foods that walk around shouting about how great they are for you.

Don’t believe every health claim you see. Don’t buy into every “suggestion” or “guideline” produced by the government. Don’t eat foods out of boxes or packages on a regular basis.

Do eat real, whole food MOST of the time.

Do avoid foods that have health claims MOST of the time.

And if you find yourself about to be locked in a room with Mr. Wonderful … run away. As fast as you can.

You can read all of Mark’s work over at his blog Simply Human and be sure to listen to his awesome podcast!! 

Naps are OK!

I know a girl.

She’s like a wild animal. A honey badger. Her hair is tangled and frizzy. She drools from the sides of her mouth. Her clothes have stains on them and holes from where she’s recently thrashed about.

She’s unreasonable. Moody. Hateful.

She’s violent. She bites and claws. She won’t eat food or drink water. Her eyes are bloodshot and swollen. She scares me.

This girl is someone I’m very close to. She’s my 4-year old daughter…when she doesn’t get her afternoon nap.

I’ve seen a lot of internet action surrounding a meta-analyses which assessed “evidence regarding the effects of napping on measures of child development and health” for children 0-5 years old. It was published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
A meta-analyses is a study that basically looks at a bunch of other studies and comes to a conclusion. This meta-analyses looked at 26 sleep studies and it sort of came to the conclusion that there was an “association between napping and later onset, shorter duration and poorer quality of night sleep, with evidence strongest beyond the age of 2 years.”

So because of that little tid-bit, a bunch of articles have sprung up here and there about how maybe letting kids older than 2 take naps could be a bad thing.

What a lot of those articles AREN’T telling you about is this little snippet towards the end of the Abstract:

The evidence regarding behaviour, health and cognition is less certain. There is a need for more systematic studies that use stronger designs”

and this one:

The findings regarding cognition, behaviour and health impacts were inconsistent…

Also, many of the studies relied on parents to report on napping habits and not based on actual sleep studies.

Now — I’m all for doing this meta-analyses. Good for the researches who took time to do this. Sleep studies are important.

But before we start forcing little ones to stay awake throughout the day because we think they might not be able to fall asleep quick enough at night and not get good sleep at night because of a nap…let’s just take a deep breath and think this through.

Will kids fall asleep faster at night if they haven’t had a nap? Of course. Because they’re exhausted. And one of the things I tell adults and parents is that if they or their children are falling asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow, they are not in a good place.

Despite what many people think, conking out as soon as you lay down is a sign of over-exhaustion and means that you need to either get more sleep or manage your stress better.

Another thing this study can’t account for is how many of these kids in these studies were exposed to artificial light after dark on a consistent basis — I bet it was a large percentage. And any data you collect from kids who are trying to go to sleep in an unnatural sleep environment (one that is filled with WAY too many stimuli like TVs, phones, tablets and computers) can just be thrown right out the window as far as I’m concerned.

That’s like doing a meta-analyses on obesity rates for people who eat exclusively at Cinnabon and Chuck E Cheese’s. Not going to get a great read on reality there.

You have kids? Good.

Then you probably know the child I described at the beginning of this post. It’s not fun. I remember in my “Pre-Kid” life that I used to roll my eyes at parents that would ruin a whole afternoon of fun because their “precious little angels” had to take “naaaaap”.

How silly I was.

Here’s a quote from John Medina in his book Brain Rules:

When you look at all of the data combined, a consistency emerges: Sleep is rather intimately involved in learning. It is observable with large amounts of sleep. It is observable with small amounts of sleep; it is observable all the time.

He goes on to make a solid case that adults who don’t get enough sleep have poor attention, executive function, motor dexterity, short-term memory, mood and more.

And that’s in ADULTS. Do we really want to try and take naps away from KIDS whose brains are firing on all cylinders trying to learn new things every second of every waking hour? And if you take motor dexterity away from my already clumsy 4-year old…that’s just an ER visit waiting to happen.

She doesn’t ever look where she’s going — HEY! LOOK UP! WATCH WHERE YOU’RE….[CRASH, BANG, WAAAAAAAA!!!!!]

No. Your kids need sleep. They need ALOT of sleep. I would bet they need more sleep than they’re getting — no matter what age they are. I would bet YOU aren’t getting enough sleep.

So save yourself from having to deal with a moody, irritable, clumsy, forgetful little person and for goodness sakes — make your kids take an afternoon nap and eliminate the artificial lights from TVs, computers, and tablets after dinner.

Give Your Kids a Fighting Chance

IMG_7889

I know I’ve written about what to feed your kids before. Many of you get it and feed your kids real, human food for the majority of the time. But until I go to places where I see kids eating (schools and sports facilities where MY kids are — I’m not hanging out at Chuck E. Cheese by myself or anything) and see most of the kids eating FOOD, I believe it will be an important topic to continue covering.

Here is a compilation of foods I gathered and staged for a pic:

IMG_7889

This is a very realistic compilation of foods that I see kids eating on a regular basis. And before anyone crucifies me for being “the parent that runs across the room and slaps the birthday cupcake out of my kid’s hand at HIS OWN BIRTHDAY PARTY”, let me say that my three kids get non-human food. They just don’t get it on a regular or everyday basis.

How is this meal a good way for a child (or ANYONE) to start their day??!!

I mean, is there anybody out there who actually believes that this meal is somehow “good”?

  • a sugar-filled nonfat yogurt and artificial flavoring/chemical concoction with a super cool picture on the bottle
  • something along the lines of a pop-tart (which is just processed flour with candy on top and some stuff inside that is the same color shade as some fruits on Mars)
  • fat-free pasteurized milk.

This is dessert. This is a birthday party treat. This is Halloween candy. This is NOT A MEAL. But this is not out of the ordinary either. It is the norm.

Eating something like this for breakfast everyday could be something they make a documentary about.

Think about this: when babies are born their brains are only partially complete. According to John Medina in his best-selling book Brain Rules, lots more work has to be done and the majority of that work isn’t done until your 20s with fine-tuning being completed in the 40s.

How can anyone expect a brain to get the fuel and building blocks it needs eating what’s pictured above? And I’m just ranting about the brain here. What about bones?! Muscles!? Joints!? Eyes!? Teeth!? the Digestive System?! How does anyone expect a young person to function normally at school or daycare or at home after eating that garbage??

I’m preaching to the choir here mainly, I get that. But listen to me Choir, WE HAVE GOT TO TRY AND FIX THIS!

Well how are we supposed to do that Mr. Smart Guy?

I don’t have the answer. I do know we CAN’T go into schools and start telling parents that they’re being bad parents because I don’t believe that in the large majority of cases it’s an indication of neglect — I think it’s ignorance. People just don’t know.

So what can you do? Well, take a page from Sarah Fragoso’s book and copy and paste what she did at her son’s gymnastics center. She didn’t just think, “welp, we’re fueling our little athletes with Snickers…guess it won’t KILL them today” and go on about her day.

No. She DID something about it. In a very diplomatic and sensitive way. And side note — there’s a point where sensitivity and tact fly out the window. But those are extreme cases — you know the kind of people I’m talking about.

This food won’t kill our kids today or tomorrow or in 10 years. Chances are it won’t kill them before they’re able to reproduce and have children of their own. Which is why our genes are allowing this type of behavior to continue.

But know this — eating this type of food on a daily and repetitive basis WILL eventually kill you.

Start off the day with foods that your brain needs to function (and for kids what their brains need to GROW!): eggs, bacon, fruit, veggies, beef…see where I’m going with this list?? It’s FOOD!

So give your kids and yourself a fighting chance. Especially in the morning. And don’t just sit by and do nothing. Inspire your kids. Inspire people around you with choices that you make and behaviors that you choose.

Kids Can Be More Than Takers During Holidays

Read more of Mark’s work over at his blog, Simply Human and be sure to listen to his podcast!

I love Christmas. Always have. Always will.

When I was a kid (and still a little bit even today) I get all excited when it’s time to open presents. Many families have all kinds of traditions and customs — but my family would open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve so we would have more time to play with our goodies. (This is of course after the “Santa years” when we would open some presents on Christmas Eve then see what Santa got us on Christmas morning).

I loved Christmas when I was a kid because of the stuff that I RECEIVED.

I love Christmas today because of the stuff that I GIVE AWAY. Not just to my sweet daughters and my son, but to people we don’t even know.

And the joy that surrounds my Christmas experience today is many times greater than when I was a kid.

I was able to make the transition from finding joy in getting to giving because my parents instilled those values in me. I was lucky to have parents that did that.

I don’t think it’s too “out in left field” to say that many adults today were never able to make that transition. You can see it all over our culture. (Kind of like saying that obesity rates have increased in the last 50 years — you don’t need a lot of scientific data backing it up…you can just look around).

Our culture is saturated with a whole lot more “me’s” than “you’s”. It’s all about “what’s in it for me” and “how is my action going to benefit ME” instead of looking at how our actions and behaviors will benefit those around us.

If you have small kids, make sure to highlight the giving aspect of this season and not focus solely on the getting.

After all, gift giving at Christmas time is based on the gifts the magi brought to the baby Jesus. They were deeply symbolic and thoughtful gifts. They didn’t bring Jesus a wooden horse toy. Ha!

Now, I’m not against getting toys for your kids. I have Anna and Elsa stuff literally coming out of my ears. Literally. There is an Anna dress attached to my ear as I’m writing this. And I think one of my daughters just slipped some Elsa slippers on my feet. Someone please send help. Save me.

So whether you’re Christian or Jewish or atheist or whatever…the spirit of gift-GIVING was thoughtfulness and meaning. Not just the sheer volume of toys that a kid can accumulate over a lifetime.

What are some things you can do with your kids to focus on giving this holiday season?:

  • Let them pick out gifts for friends and family members.
  • Let them help wrap gifts for other people.
  • Tell them stories and show them pictures of children who don’t have everything they ever wanted whenever they want it.
  • Better yet — take them to those children. Show them. Volunteer somewhere that will give your kids some perspective on the real world.
  • Go buy a bunch of toys and drop them off at a Toys for Tots drop-off (or something similar).
  • Give money to the Salvation Army bell ringers.
  • Try and talk them into giving away a toy that they own that maybe they haven’t played with in a long time that someone else may get joy from.
  • Find an organization that connects “givers” with families in need and buy everything on that family’s wish list.
  • Spend more money on other people than you do your own family and let your kids in on that (if they’re old enough).

Show your kids the joy of giving. Show them that helping other people is one of their purposes on earth. Show them. Don’t tell them. Just like telling them to eat broccoli won’t work…YOU have to eat it.

Let’s raise a generation that understands that it’s not about ME. It’s about YOU.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, gets everything he or she ever wanted, and gives a whole lot more.

Are You Movement Deficient?

*Note from Sarah: I particullarly love this article!!! Also, Mark mentions the Squatty Potty in this article and I have to do a special shoutout to Squatty Potty as well – we have two of them, one in each of our bathrooms and, well, we couldn’t live without them. They are truly that legit. For more of Mark’s work, be sure to visit his website, follow him on Facebook, and listen to his kick butt podcast

Here’s some nutrition advice for all you folks out there raising kids: put them on a diet of only broccoli and chicken. You can cook it or not cook it, season it any way you want. But that’s it. Broccoli. Chicken. Forever.

Sound good?

It certainly would make shopping easy.

But that’s crazy, right? Or as the kids say “cray cray.” You would never do that. And why not? Because kids need more than that to grow and be healthy, right?

*Side note here: your kids might actually only say they ever want to eat 1 or 2 things, but you would never “prescribe” that diet for them. Or any diet that contained only two foods — sorry Cabbage Soup diet.

Think of all the nutrients they’d be missing out on! And not to say that broccoli and chicken aren’t healthy if cooked in healthy ways, but our bodies need more.

Our bodies need a bajillion macro and micronutrients from a variety of fuel sources in order to thrive. That’s a given. And “bajillion” is a scientific term — I saw it on the internet.

All the vitamins, fatty acids, essential amino acids, minerals, the list is ridiculous when you break it down, and those are just the ones we KNOW about.

So let’s take this and relate it to movement.

What if you or your kids only moved in a couple of very specific ways the majority of your time awake? Not that farfetched an idea, right?

I think it’s fair to say without doing any sort of double blind, peer reviewed study that many adults today sit most of the time, then engage in some type of very linear, repetitive motion for a small fraction of their waking hours (aka elliptical, treadmill, exercise bike, running, swimming, etc…).

Another huge fraction of the population only sits. As Katy Bowman puts it in her book, Move Your DNA, they are “ninjas” at sitting.

Many school-aged kids spend a large majority of their time sitting in a desk, and if they are involved in any extracurricular activity, that activity is incredibly specialized — like if a kid (like both of my daughters) is a gymnast. Gymnastics is a GREAT thing to do for overall muscle development and coordination much the same way that broccoli is a super food and should be eaten on a regular basis – but not in exclusivity. We need more variation. We are designed to move in ways that aren’t only “broccoli.”

If you think the list of nutrients our bodies need to reach their health potential is exhausting, the list of all the different types of movements and ranges of motion your body can perform can’t be listed…because it’s infinite.

It would almost be like trying to write out all the numbers. Impossible.

Just like a variety in foods give us different nutritional benefits, different movements give us different bio-mechanical benefits. So not getting a healthy dose of movements and ranges of motion is as unhealthy as only eating one or two foods for the rest of your life.

Getting stuck in one position affects your blood pressure, your respiration, your metabolism, your stress level, your brain, your joint health, your muscle retention and growth, and a myriad of other things that you may have never thought of.

Start thinking of sitting all day like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and only having one food on display. That would be terrible. An endless buffet of…..carrots. Mmmmmm…..

So what can you do? You have a job with a desk! You have to commute to the job! You have your life and that’s that so what can you do!!???

Here are some easy things you and your children can do to ensure that your movement buffet is filled with many different things that will support a long and healthy existence:

  • change positions once an hour

sitting at work? Stand up. Been standing for an hour? Stand on a PVC pipe. Tired of that? Squat. Then stand back up and put one foot up on a stool or trashcan. Mix it up.

  • stand whenever you want at work or school

have a conversation with your kids’ teachers, most will understand where you’re coming from and will allow your kids to stand if they want to at various “appropriate times” throughout the day

  • squat when you poop

not hard even if you’re not very flexible if you have a Squatty Potty (most recently seen on Shark Tank). Most kids still have great mobility and this is no problem for them. I know my girls prefer to squat on the pot.

  • bypass the couch at home — get down on the floor

thanks to all the time I spent locked up in desks while in school, I can no longer sit comfortably on the floor cross-legged. Did that deter me? No. I got a little yoga block which raises my pelvis up off the ground enough for me to cross my legs. Not comfortable at first, but it is now. And hopefully pretty soon I’ll be all the way on the floor. We eat dinner on the kitchen floor, too — sorry dogs, outside. And it’s good incentive to keep the floor clean!

  • engage in some type of random movement activity

tennis, basketball, racquetball, soccer, playing tag, and jumping on a trampoline are examples of things that require you to move laterally and in ways that keep your body guessing and adapting

  • Don’t specialize your kids!

This is a touchy one and down at the bottom of the article for a reason. But let me just say this — having middle school and high school aged kids specializing in a sport and only doing that one sport is CRAZY!!! I’m sorry if you have a daughter on track to be the next gold medalist in softball, but you are only setting them up for a lifetime of movement “nutritional deficiency.” There I said it. Please comment or email me how much of a moron you think I am.

Our kids were not designed to do one activity for the majority of their waking hours. They just weren’t.

  • Do things not on “counter level”

Think about it. Everything you do in the house has you either sitting or standing up comfortably (like your counters in the kitchen). There are no waist level sinks or counter tops in nature. Think of ways to get away from counter tops. I’ll cook bacon on a griddle on the back porch…on the ground — sorry dogs, back inside — which forces me to squat down. I make broth on the ground outside. Be creative!

Don’t just eat broccoli and chicken all day, every day. Move around. Use your body in ways it was designed to move!

 

Sticks and Stones…

To follow all of Mark’s work, be sure to visit his blog, Simply Human, and of course, listen to his podcast

I’m a huge nerd and am just about done with the 5th book of the George R.R. Martin series, A Song of Ice and Fire — otherwise knows as “Game of Thrones” to all the insolent FOOLS who don’t realize that is just the name of the first BOOK and the HBO series, bahhha! (pretentious snort-laugh while I push my glasses back up my nose).

A phrase some of the characters use in the book is “words are wind”. The context is that words don’t mean anything — ACTIONS are the key.

Another phrase we’re all familiar with is “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This is a particularly good phrase for the youngest child (like me) to use on older siblings when mom and dad are watching to ensure that the aforementioned youngest sibling doesn’t get his face smashed in.

But wind can cause some serious damage. And words can scar.

We have all said things to people we love that we instantly regret or wish we could “un-say.” And no one is affected more by words than our children. Anyone able to recall a memory of mom, dad, or guardian saying something to you when you were a kid that has just stuck with you? Yeah. No bueno.

So what’s my point?

Well, the “words are wind” thing combined with a TED talk I watched recently, that blew my socks a little farther off than most TED talks do, led me to make a vow to myself — and here goes:

I will never say anything to anyone that could not stand as the last thing I ever say.

A little context — in the TED talk, a story is told about a 15 year old Jewish girl and her 8 year old brother who have just climbed aboard a train to Auschwitz. She glanced down in the mayhem and noticed he wasn’t wearing shoes. So, as any 15-year old big sister will do, she snapped something at him about why he can’t keep up with his things and how could he be so stupid to forget his shoes!

Turns out it was the last thing she ever said to him. She survived…and never saw him again.

And when she walked out of that camp and “into life” as she puts it, she made that vow to herself.

Imagine if we could all make that vow and stick to it 95% of the time? Imagine the kind of world this would be. So that’s a big picture dream that’s kind of over-the-top and unrealistic.

But what ISN’T unrealistic is you being able to make that a rule in your own mind and in your own house with your own kiddos.

Making their lunches and getting them to bed on time and creating environments for them to play and move don’t mean a whole heck of a lot if your kids don’t feel loved.

Just a quick thought for the day. That realization affected me greatly and I wanted to share. I am 24 hours into the vow and it’s going good so far! I’ve caught myself several times already choosing different words….words that I wouldn’t regret if they were my last.