An open Letter to Teachers and Parents:
Dear Teachers and Parents,
I will try my best to write this letter as sincerely and as seriously as I possibly can; however, some of the points that I may touch upon in this post may seem trivial but this post comes from a 24 old, done and dusted son, they will matter to your child!.
Growing up, I never knew that there was more to physical education than just playing a filthy game of soccer with 50 energetic children chasing a single football in the dust. Trying to push and prod their way to victory. As I have experienced what they call young adult life I have had the chance to look at cultures beyond ours. I have realized that with respect to physical education and nutrition there is more than what we think we know.
Ask a 21-year-old guy how he wouldn’t kill to have a big muscular chest and big arms. You might argue that 21 is a good age him to start going to the gym but ask the experts it is not! The best time to start gymmning is in your late teens when the growth hormones in the body are on top of their game. It is similar for other sporting activities. We should encourage other physical activities like weight training, cardio, yoga etc in our schools. We should make schools accountable for the activities that children are engaged in during the popular “PE Periods”. It works both ways, a healthy mind leads to a healthy body and a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Today our society faces several social evils like rapes and sexual assaults. Having access to proper physical outlets like gym etc. would help people remain in healthy state of minds. They would remain occupied, have an outlet for all the physical energy, have a better self-esteem and lower frustrations since there are chances they would do well with the people from the opposite sex.
We look at the west and think it reeks of various societal and cultural problems. But apparently there is a lot we can pick up from them, for they are doing fairly better than us at this point of time. It is time to change and adapt. In America, Young children get into different physical activity like Gymmning, boxing, American football, basketball and follow serious training regimen right through high-school. No wonder they do so well in Olympics. For us even though we are a billion and a quarter over, our nation is not at that stage where we take pride in the way that we live and our life styles. Only a luck few whose parents are aware enough to push them at a young age get to follow their dreams while the rest of us slog it out for years to compete each other in competitions at every stage of our lives to do mediocre education and mediocre jobs. This would certainly not make the men who wrote the Vedas or wrote down principles of Ayurveda and Yoga proud. We have lost our place on the global front. We are losing it with every second.
As time has passed India has developed. We can now afford better life-styles. The era of 60s and 70s is long gone when it was hard to afford proper meals to fill out stomachs. We should not look beyond just basic nutrition. According to the Center for Disease control and Prevention USA a young teen aged 14 to 18 need a daily intake of at least 52 grams of protein. Here are the sources: here, here and here. To give you an idea an egg white has only 3 gm of protein. Looking at those figures I do not think I was eating enough while I was growing up. Look at young athletes and young people around and you might wonder why does everyone look so skinny, you know the reason why!. We need to re-consider our approach towards traditional mind sets that we have about health and nutrition. They probably belong to 1973 not to 2013.
It is time that we need to look at our lives differently. It could be that the healthy change that we bring from within our households might help make our broken system healthier. For our great Father – Mahatma Gandhi said – “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And we want to see a healthy society.