I originally wrote Mom’s 10 Commandments of Health for my young adult children. I wanted to impress upon them that they were now the stewards of their own health. I was no longer around to remind them to get adequate sleep, eat well, exercise. I realized that all parents could probably use a springboard to discuss important health and body image issues with their kids. So I had the text illustrated and voila! Mom’s 10 Commandments of Health became a poster. I have big dreams (OK, outsized dreams) that over time, this poster will spark meaningful conversations between parents and their children about making wise choices, the miracle of the human body, the way the media bombards us with unrealistic standards of what that body should look like, and more.
A dear reader sent me the photo above and shared an exchange she had with her 15-year-old son. I was thrilled to receive her note. Just as I had hoped, the poster prompted a quick but meaningful conversation, the thread of which she can weave into her already resourceful parenting.
I modeled the commandments one-for-one on the Original Ten. For instance: Thou shalt not steal became: You shall not steal your body’s tomorrow health by blowing off exercise today.
Thou shall not commit adultery became You shall not eat adulterated foods, but consume instead greens and grains, proteins and fruits. And some ice cream now and then!
I love that my friend’s son thought the poster was “cool” and interpreted Mom’s 10th Commandment—You shall not covet your neighbor’s waist or her hair, not his height or biceps, nor any physical aspect that is your neighbor’s – as a caution to be yourself.
So here, in one-act, a brief play inspired by Mom’s 10 Commandments of Health. Setting: a kitchen in Michigan. Personae Dramatis: Mom and Son. Time: a school morning
Son goes to the fridge to get his lunch out, stops.
SON: What’s this?
MOM: Debra Darvick sent it to me.
(pauses a moment) I like it.
SON: Yeah. It’s cool.
MOM: What’s cool about it?
SON: I like the Biblical phrasing. And it says…(points to each commandment in turn) I. Respect your mom. II. I don’t really know what this is about.* III. Respect your body. IV. Sleep well. V. Respect your mind. VI. Don’t do drugs. VII. Eat good food. VIII. Stay (acting out movement). IX. (screws up face and voice goes up with uncertainty) Don’t get tattooed? X. Don’t try to be someone else. (pauses a moment) I like it, too.
He proceeds to open the fridge, gets his lunch and packs up to leave the house for school.
MOM: (to the dog) That was easy.
And the *? It’s poignant that Mom’s 2nd Commandment—You will have no other body but this one—stymied my friend’s son. Young people sometimes live in blessed ignorance of this immutable truth: We have no body but this one; ergo, take care of it!
Ready to start a discussion with your kids? Order a poster of your own by clicking on the Contact Me link at the right. We are gearing up for e-commerce so please leave your name and email and I’ll get right back to you when we are up and running. To your health!
It’s your turn! How do you encourage your children to make wise food choices? Get adequate sleep and exercise? And how about you? What’s your biggest health challenge and how do you meet it? Share this post with your Facebook friends and stay healthy together!