31 Jan Replace Food With Fuel (A parent’s guide to words that work)
I have a question for you: Is the vocabulary you are using with your kids expanding or contracting their sense of their innate ability to heal? Is it empowering them to make healthy choices?
The Way You Talk About Things Matters
Our brains hear us all day long. Chatter, opinions, reactions and those inevitable ruts of rumination. Consciousness, however, is not passive, and we can influence how those inner monologues go.
We think the stuff and then say the it out loud to our kids and partners. And guess what? We believe it and live out our thoughts and words. Doesn’t it make sense to bring intentionality to our conversations?
Replace “Food” with “Fuel”
Recently I read in a blog post an example of this — and I love it! It was that a family used the word “fuel” often in replacement for the word “food.” Since I have teenagers this caught my attention.
Mounds of food are consumed in my house on a daily basis and my kids are snacking a lot at school in between classes, before and after sport practices, and when they get together for study groups and projects. At my house, I try to provide an abundance of healthy options — nuts, fruit, organic chips and salsa, mini pizzas we make from scratch, smoothie ingredients, etc. So I know that they are gonna snack on decent stuff.
But my kids are also out in the world without me, making their own decisions and surrounded by cheap junk food. That crap unfortunately tastes good and they see lots of other kids inhaling it — all the time. Just the other day my son said he was getting a ride to lacrosse with his buddies after school. I said “Great, make sure you fuel up your body for practice so you can really perform well.”
Changing the word from food to fuel gives the subtle hint that quality matters. And I got to do it without being the “lame” mom who lectures their kid on convenience store snacks while the kid tunes it out. (I do that too, but this prevents the broken record syndrome.)
Do you kids “get to” go on hike with you or “have to”? Are they “choosing” a wellness day or are they forced to stay home because they are as sick as a dog? Are they scared to sleep alone at night or aware that they anxious at night? Are they “processing” or down with the flu?
Using words that emphasize possibility, solution and hope lets our brains create healing and happy biochemicals. This is turn supports both mental and physical well being.
This is not something that we are taught as parents. I don’t know about you but I never had Parenting 101 in high school or college. This is a learned process. Learning and trying on conversations all the time is how you develop your skill. It takes attention and focus but it is well worth the effort since you and your kids can flick the switch from a limited point of view to an open field of view with possibilities.
And this, I believe, is a cornerstone for the Creation of Health.
What word choices are you making that affect your kids’ thinking — and your own? Share them in the comments below.
P.S. If you want more on how to speak the Language of Wellness read this blog post