A Faustian Bargain
As my now one year old daughter was napping on my chest, I decided to start a new book written by Mike Boyle. If you don't know Mike, he is a strength and conditioning coach in the Boston area and has trained successful athletes in a variety of sports. In it, he introduced me to a story/concept I was not familiar with called the "Faustian Bargain."
The story of Faust is a complex one told in a variety of ways but it can ultimately be summed up this way: The erudite Faust is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the devil, and ultimately eternity in hell, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. This man made a deal and was not worried about long term ramifications.
We already discussed the issues our adult population faces in a previous blog post titled The Enemy. In it, we encouraged everyone not to be like the masses of inactive, injured and overweight and to get your body moving. With this article, we will take a look at the future generation, our youth.
Now, I don't remember who said it but I remember hearing, "the best way to not be screwed up as an adult is to not get screwed up in the first place!" With our children, we sometimes make a Faustian bargain of our own. We sacrifice long term success for short term gain. We focus on athletic success with no regard for what it might be doing for their mental health. We praise qualities like athleticism and championships without valuing work ethic and determination. Some of the same issues show up in the classrooms with a focus placed more on academic achievement rather than embracing creativity and dealing with adversity. We make a deal similar to Faust as we value success in adolescence over valuing the learning of life long healthy habits and routines.
Now for the physical side of things, our kids are in trouble. One-third of children aged 10-17 are either overweight or obese. Obese kids become obese adults. If we want to make an impact in correcting the adult statistics, we have to make an impact with kids first. We, as adults, must lead from the front and be the best example we can be for our children. We must not give them electronics and video games to occupy their time. We must encourage physical activity. We must not give them garbage food to appease them. We must give them healthy food choices. Lastly, we must not blame our schedules or lifestyles for the current condition of ourselves or our children. We must take ownership and hold ourselves accountable for everything that happens in our lives and also our children's.