When my first son was born, it was as if a new dimension had opened in my life. My first glimpse of him was a profound moment, but in those first days as a new dad, I had no idea the scope of the new territory in myself I was to discover (and am continuing to discover, now with four children – and the oldest heading off to college in the fall).
Tonight, as I’m writing this, my oldest is at his high school senior prom. Handsome in his tux, he headed off to an elegant evening with his date. I headed to a stack of my old pictures to reflect, and to share with you some of the life-changing lessons I’ve learned since he was a baby (seems like yesterday).
Before he was one, I taught my son how to throw a ball. I remember teaching him to shoot baskets almost as soon as he could stand (with the coolest little basketball and net). I taught him animal noises. I taught him to sing the alphabet (abcdefg, hijklmnop, qrs, tuv, w, x, y, and z, next time phys-i-cal chem-i-stry! – a little medical school humor).
He was born while I was still in medical school. When he was very young, I taught him obscure names for body parts (“Where is your sternum?” “Point to your appendix.”). I taught him to read. To add. To brush his teeth. But I taught him next to nothing about nutrition, and nothing at all about organic foods. Or so I thought…
He learned about food from what we fed him, from what he saw us buy, and from what he saw us eat. Children are observant. They learn what we really believe in practice. They learn far more from what we do than from what we say. As a busy medical student, intern, and then resident, I ate a typical rushed American diet. Convenience foods, snack foods, fast foods, junk foods. I ate some fruit most days, and a little less in the way of vegetables.
I was more interested in nutrition than many medical students were at the time. I went out of my way to take elective courses in nutrition to supplement the meager offering in the core curriculum. Still, I knew little. And what I did know was pushed aside by habit and a busy schedule. He was eating the way I was by the time he was two.
Over the years, my family grew. By the time my youngest son came along, I was becoming a prominent pediatrician. When he was a baby, I began answering questions online from parents all over the world. I had learned a lot about many aspects of health and wellness. I knew that there were benefits to foods grown organically, but I didn’t believe this deeply enough for it to become a priority for myself and for my family. But when my youngest son was still nursing, everything changed…
More From Fathers for Organic:
Dr. Greene’s Organic Journey
Fathers for Organic – Part 1 of 7
Fathers for Organic – Part 2 of 7
Fathers for Organic – Part 3 of 7
Fathers for Organic – Part 4 of 7
Fathers for Organic – Part 5 of 7
Fathers for Organic – Part 6 of 7
Fathers for Organic – Part 7 of 7