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What sometimes takes a minute to realize, though, is that even when children do share the same physical space with us, we aren’t really in control of those children.


Healthy Adults Influence Healthy ChildrenIn his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, (New York: Simon & Schuster, Anniversary Edition, November 19, 2013) Stephen Covey describes three spheres that all of us experience in our lives. They are:Circumstances over which we have no controlCircumstances we can influenceAnd those things we can control
Traffic: what can you do about it?Consider circumstances that you do not control – much as you might wish you could. What are some of those circumstances?Typical responses include: weather, time, traffic, what other people do – and for people who work with children in child care settings or schools, what children do when they are not with us. Of course parents also might respond what their own children do when they are not with them.What sometimes takes a minute to realize, though, is that even when children do share the same physical space with us, we aren’t really in control of those children.Experiment on yourself a moment. Consider you are in a classroom and the instructor is giving a lecture to you and nine other students. Who do you think is in control in such a circumstance?Many people might respond that the instructor is in control. But is she? Hopefully, she is has taken control of her time to know her subject well, to adequately prepare to engage her students, to project her own enthusiasm for the subject.But is she in control of the ten students who have shown up for her class?Think back to the last classroom you were in. What were those students doing? Some probably looked at the instructor with an expression of interest. Others busily took notes – presumably about what the instructor was saying, but perhaps not. Some looked out the window. Some might be sleeping.If the instructor were in control of these students, wouldn’t they all be gazing at her in fascination?The truth is that each student in our hypothetical classroom is acting out their own personal drama within their heads. Whether they learn what the instructor has to teach is far more up to each of them than it is to her. She is not in control of their dramas, whether they take in what she says, whether they take notes, whether they sleep, whether they learn. It’s really the students who have the ultimate control, and the best she can do is hope to influence them.“Influence: nounthe capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself: the influence of television violence | I was still under the influence of my parents | their friends are having a bad influence on them.the power to shape policy or ensure favorable treatment from someone, esp. through status, contacts, or wealth: the institute has considerable influence with teachers.a person or thing with the capacity or power to have an effect on someone or something: Frank was a good influence on her.”We’ll get back to influence. Before we do, let’s consider what we do control.What do you personally control?Think hard. And be brutally honest with yourself.If you said anything other than your own self, please reconsider.When it gets right down to it, each of us – children included – only has control over our own selves – what we do, what we think, what we believe, what we do with the resources we may or may not have been given. Of course, we need to acknowledge that maintaining one’s self-control is extremely difficult work. Especially when we consider all those people in our lives who should be listening to what we think they should do!Oh but let’s get back to influence. To have an effect on. To shape. To have the power – and the responsibility – to have an effect on.Influence is the most that adults can hope for in relation to children – that we influence them. But influence matters!According to Stephen Covey, the way for us to extend our influence is to put more emphasis on that which we do control – just ourselves. When we focus on controlling ourselves – how we prepare, how we manage our emotions, how we engage in healthy eating and active living – the greater our influence on everyone around us becomes.Consider the targets in the graphic to the right.If you were shooting darts, which target would you choose to make the most points?To influence healthy children, we must focus on providing a positive influence, showing them what it takes to be a healthy person by our attitudes, behavior, and self-control. When we act as positive role models for children’s health, we increase the health of the environment in which children live and increase the likelihood that those children will make healthier choices in their own lives.M1 Assignment – Case Study: Health InitiativesChoose two programs that support national health initiatives. Visit their websites and describe the goals and services these programs provide. Now consider how these nationally-based programs support your local community. Give examples of how each program supports environmental change and/or personal health choices of children and families who live in your local community.Then address how the national programs you assessed might help the family described in the case study in Chapter 1 of Marotz. Assume that Jose and his mother live in your local community. How would they access and benefit from these national initiatives?Respond to the questions asked in the text as well as the following:What family strengths can you detect in the scenario?How might you help Jose’s mother leverage those strengths to positively affect Jose’s long-term health outcome?What is one small change you might suggest to Jose’s mother that she might accept?Given that people may feel defensive when they feel criticized, how might you present your suggestion so that Jose’s mother will be likely to accept it?
For information about the specific criteria for this assignment, please review the evaluation rubric.Once you’ve submitted your assignment here, post your assignment in Peer Review discussion forum as an attachment. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn about different programs your classmates chose – or a different perspective if you happened to select the same program. Then conduct a peer review of the submissions of at least two classmates.


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