If you’re prone to worry about everything, like me, then having a child will only exponentially amplify every possible worrisome scenario! Thankfully, I am also a rational person who likes to be productive, so I quickly talk my mind off of 100 different ledges a week. My whole pregnancy, as an older mom, it seemed there was one rational worry after another. I dealt with it all positively, while yearning just to hold my precious little one. Somewhere around month 7, I realized my baby was actually safer insulated in my womb. It was a laughable realization: I now have to succeed at protecting and nurturing my child as well as my body had. The point is, we worry about our baby’s wellbeing way before they’re born, and it will never end!

​The thing I always remind myself is that worrying is never the answer for anything. It solves nothing. It changes nothing. The way I see it, the only answer, generically, is to raise my child right, to lay a strong foundation in their most formative years. Specifically, this means teaching and modeling safe and healthy behaviors. Oh boy, there are no closed doors anymore; time to walk the walk.


Imagine visiting a holy temple that only you have access to, and it’s full of valuable items. Close your eyes. Rest your feet flat on the floor and begin to take slow, deep breaths, allowing your stomach to fill. Push the air back out slowly and open your mind’s eye. You are in that temple, it is you.

How often do you celebrate the gift of life, in reverence of your own temple? When is the last time you experienced the glorious realization that you are completely and utterly incredible, on every level? For many of us, the honest answer is not often enough. Myself included. Our attention is pulled in many directions in this fast-paced, modern world, but we mustn’t lose sight of the biggest picture of our “self”, the mystery of who we are, and why we are here.

Nothing gave me the appreciation for how incredible it is to be alive, and how thankful we should be, like being pregnant. Appointment after appointment of checking for abnormalities, congenital malformations, and diseases really puts it all into perspective. From our first cell’s division, very many things can go wrong. It’s unbelievable how much we take for granted. With my own child, I can say, I am mindful of this miracle every day. I will strive to instill the proper appreciation, thankfulness, and awe of the temple that is my child.


I believe the 3-part self is something that everyone, especially children should understand, because it is from that mind frame that they are better able to care about themselves, as well as analyze their behavioral motivations. If you’re wondering, the three parts are the body, mind, and soul. The soul being the eternal part of our being. The mind being our conscious, often times self-sabotaging, guide. The body being our physical being, which includes the brain, the functional organ which operates many bodily processes.

I wrote extensively about the 3-part self in my book “Differences in Time”


​Our soul is the most valuable treasure in all our temple. It is an enigma, capable of shining through the darkness, but can easily be overlooked. When our value system is off and our vision is clouded, we can mistakenly chose to worship physical things for the body or bow to the control of our mind. The good thing is that our soul doesn’t deteriorate; it simply waits in the shadows until we turn towards it. Our soul wants to align our life to our passion, direct us to our talents, and expand our joy. When we get beyond the mental and physical trappings of the world, the soul is what we are left with, and it is enough. Our soul connects us to the biggest picture. What a relief, therefore, that this part of our being is stable, ever accessible, and everlasting.

Children don’t need instructions for accessing their soul. Babies, especially, are pure. They are free of the mind’s judgements, free of the shackles of our habits and assorted needs. To preserve that unspoiled nature is what parents should concern themselves with. Reel them back in when they start to over indulge. Remind them and excite them about their passions and talents. Encourage them to get lost in activities that make them shine from within. Most importantly, show them your own soul.


​Our body changes over time, every part from our cells, to our bones, teeth, muscles, and brain. The most rapid period of development is obviously growing from a single cell to a fully developed baby in nine months. After the first trimester, we had all our organ systems in place and almost every detail accounted for.

Poetic Empiricist’s “Day 70 Design” on YouTube

​In our first year after birth, our brain doubled in size. After infancy, the next major point of rapid change and development is puberty. One of the hallmarks of both puberty and infancy is the vast amount of sleep that is required. And for good reason, sleep is crucial. There are certain hormones that are only released when we sleep, such as the growth hormone. Every animal sleeps. We need it to live and thrive. As adults, we think we can cheat on this health essential. Caffeine cannot replace the therapeutic qualities of sleep and there are many health problems associated with forgoing the proper amount. Overall, lack of sleep shortens our life. Not only do we suffer weight gain and lowered immunity, but sleep deprivation is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, amongst other things. Forming healthy sleep habits from a young age should help my child prioritize sleep throughout life.


​The preventative power of sound sleep is profound. The next step is to scrutinize what we put in our bodies. In this culture of wants, it’s easy to lose sight of the simplicity of our needs. What our bodies actually need is very minimal, clean water, fresh air, natural foods. Food creates the power we need to be active and replenishes the minerals and vitamins we require. It is my job, as a parent to scrutinize and teach. What is the best rice to eat, considering it is all arsenic laced (yes, even organic)? What fruits and vegetables need to be organic? Some foods, like kale, you are better off skipping if you can’t buy organic. The amount of chemicals used to grow them outweighs any dietary value. Just like when you see a circle and say “circle”, teaching children about the value of nutrition does not have to be complicated. “Carrots are good for your eyes.” “Tomatoes are good for your heart.” “You need healthy fats for your brain.” It’s that basic. Kids are like sponges.

When they get older they can help prepare foods, plan menus, decide what spices should be used. Even better, they can research the benefits of spices (there are so many)! When food is seen as a tool, it is less likely to be abused. Let me tell you, I’m not always the poster child for healthy eating! I catch myself emotional eating or indulging in food that tastes good or is quick. I don’t beat myself up over it though, and I’ve never been on a diet. Everything in moderation, this includes our reactions to our own behaviors.

Unfortunately, for many of the 7 billion humans on earth, pure foods and water have become harder and harder to find. The healthy options are scarce, expensive, or replaced with inferior convenience items. As difficult as the right choices are, if it’s within your power to obtain them, considered the effort an act of devotion for your temple. What’s tragic is, some children and adults don’t find the foods earth has given us palatable. Even worse, some people’s systems can’t handle healthy food. They’ve grown accustomed to artificial, heavily processed ingredients. This is another case where starting kids off on the right foot with nutrition will serve them for life.

Poetic Empiricist “Good Words for Plants” on YouTube


​Sleep and nutrition are preventative, yet they can also be the cure. Let’s face it, prevention is not a foolproof plan. There are accidents, genetics, and outside influences at play. Plant medicine is nearly an unlimited subject, as humans still haven’t uncovered all the benefits of the floral and fungal world. Conversely, ancient wisdom from every culture can now be analyzed and verified by science. Of course there are certain things that necessitate modern medicine. Another case for the middle-way, moderation. You can’t prevent the measles with a poultice! Modern medicine is responsible for humans living longer, quality existences.

As our children proceed through their education, building greater and greater knowledge of the workings of their cells, organs, and organ systems, let’s hope they develop a deep veneration for their body. It’s not hard to be astonished at the intricacies and effectiveness of the design. In that regard, I’m not sure if my child is lucky or trapped having a science and biology teacher for a mom! Through facts and interesting explanations, my child will be raised to respect the temple of the body. I will explain how we are simultaneously full of both strength and fragility, how we can stay safe, heal, and strengthen every part of ourselves. Knowing we only get one of these fantastical machines may help my child make better life choices and accurately judge all risks. This is the closest thing I can do to putting my child in a bubble, the bubble of knowledge.

Of course, I am far from perfect. I have abused my temple, but that has shown me that the body wants to heal itself. The body provides warning signs to those who listen and want to recalibrate their lifestyle. To act on these tips means you must provide the body with the right circumstances for natural processes to outweigh the damage. Through illumination and elimination of known health culprits and bolstering of healthy elements, the body naturally corrects its course. Nevertheless, one major factor that determines the outcome of most of our endeavors is our mind, and it needs to be kept in check! To be healthy, we must think healthy.


​We’ve already covered how the brain is not the mind, that it’s our body. The brain has specific areas for specific functions. The lobes, for example, are general areas of activity. The frontal lobe, amongst other things, creates our personality. The temporal lobe, on each side of our brain, is where hearing is processed. The occipital lobe, in the back of our head, processes visual stimuli collected by our eyes. Lastly, the parietal lobe handles sensory and motor functions. There are also very specific areas for things like reading, speaking, comprehension, memory, and emotion. The most basic and automatic functions of the body, hunger, circadian rhythm, temperature control, heartbeat, and breathing, are handled by the brain stem.

Some of the processes that occur automatically, we can consciously take control over. You hear a lot about the mind-body connection and the effect it has on our health. When our mind is making us anxious, it is reflected in our breathing and heart rate. When we remember that we can take control of our breathing and intentionally draw deeper and slower breaths, our heart rate will slow. This directly feeds back to our mind and helps control our anxious state. Being mindful and not functioning reactively, on autopilot, allows us to control our overall health.

This is just a simple example of how the mind is capable of healing or hurting the body. What’s really scary is how we can alter our genome causing a cascade of effects that would not have materialized otherwise. This is not magic, but the work of our regulatory genes. Regulatory genes are switches that can be flipped with something as ubiquitous as stress. We all know stress is bad for us, but it’s probably worse for us than we ever consider.


​In a lot of ways, our mind is one of our most powerful tools to either prevent or create illness. Like a hammer, that can both build up and tear down, controlling the mind is essential. The truth is, although it may seem overwhelming at first, thorough examination and intentionality is a job we cannot afford to slack on.

Just like our thoughts, our emotions must also be kept in line. Emotions are really just the label we attach to certain physiological stimuli. Therefore, emotions are products of both the brain and the mind. We can’t avoid them, as humans, so we must learn how best to deal with them. I will directly teach my child emotional health. Proper handling of emotions is one of the strongest indicators of positive mental health (which is a strong indicator of overall health). How we deal with emotions is, in large part, a learned behavior. Sure, some kids are born more or less dramatic than others, but it’s our responsibility as parents to put the proper perspective on their reactions. Unchecked emotional responses can cause undue suffering.

Thankfully, I am good at modeling positive mental and emotional health. I know it’s ok to be temporarily mad, sad, hurt, scared, elated, surprised, or feel guilty. Labeling and honoring these feelings is the first step toward releasing them. In contrast, we all know people who are slaves to their emotions.


​It’s true, bad things happen. People get sick, loved ones die, life can be unfair in so many ways, but there is nothing that time won’t heal. Give yourself that time. Mourn and grieve and cry it out. These are all healthy and natural responses; and I would argue more long-term damage is caused by not releasing the tension inside.

Time is a great healer. It will dissolve the strength of our emotions, if we allow it. Time gives us wisdom and perspective. When we are in the midst of dark times, we often can’t see around or beyond it. However, this is when it’s vitally important to remind ourselves better days are on our path. This allows us to have our time while simultaneously acknowledging our ultimate destination. The only constant in this universe is that nothing stays the same. CHANGE is universal.

It is equally essential to remember the ephemeral nature of emotions when we are feeling the high times; joy and excitement are as fleeting as sadness and despair. Returning to our balanced state is natural and healthy. Otherwise, these states of extreme emotion are manifestations of mood disorders. Mania, depression, and bipolar disorder are all examples of emotional imbalances. I am not proposing that my child can completely avoid any of these illnesses simply by building emotional awareness, because they can be chemical imbalances. I am suggesting that through proper understanding and emotional intelligence, these illnesses would be promptly addressed.

Lingering in a state of anxiety or depression can have serious consequences. The assortment of physical ailments that flourish out of mental illness are well studied. From substance abuse, to heart disease, to diabetes, it’s easy to connect the dots between the comorbidity of physical and mental illnesses. Building up our children’s ability to examine their thoughts and emotions will greatly improve their quality of life.


​Now, think back to that temple full of valuables, where you stand alone, in awe of your surroundings. What promises would you make to yourself in the dark solitude? How can you plan to guard your physical and mental wellbeing? What joyous activities will you make more time for, talents will you bring to light? Let’s recall that our young children follow our lead, repeating many of our behaviors and responses. In the very least, our choices impact them in innumerable ways. The take away here is to be good to your three part self. Simply by prioritizing health, you are demonstrating valuable life skills for your children. The good thing for all of us is, we can always return to our temple, it’s never too late.