Is “eating healthy” really important?
One word: YES. Every 27 days, your skin replaces itself. Your liver, every six weeks. Your bones, 10 years. Your body makes these new cells from the food you eat. What you eat literally becomes you. You have a choice in what you’re made of.
At MMA, we are focused on the overall wellness of the whole child. We don’t just want to see them survive, we want them to thrive. But how can we really thrive in life if we are missing any of the major components to overall wellness? So, what does a thriving child look like? We believe there are four pieces of this wellness formula: emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental (ESPM) health. And guess what: they’re all more connected to each other than we can imagine. For example, 5 minutes of anger has been shown to shut down the entire immune system for over 8 hours (emotional state feeds physical state). Processed sugars are known to affect attention span (physical state affects mental state). And, as our Sages have been saying for thousands of years, eating in a state of gratitude and mindfulness has now been medically proven to affect food digestion and absorption (spiritual state feeds physical state).
We are passionate about holistic education. What does this phrase mean? It means we educate the child, parent, family, and community on the whole picture. We believe it is our responsibility as a school system to take a strategic approach to education and reverse-engineer our education plan in order to always remain clear on the end result we want to create. Let me explain. Many years ago, I worked in marketing and strategic planning for a very famous global bank. It was our job to take the bank’s long-term goals and work backward to break them down into shorter term strategies and tactics to help make sure the bank would arrive at its ultimate destination. Now, what if we take that same approach to education? Our goal would be an 18 (or 20 or 22)-year old kid who is strong and healthy (on all 4 ESPM planes), with the proper life skills and awareness to embark on his own special journey and make a difference in the world, without getting overwhelmed lost, jaded, or defeated along the way. So, if that healthy young adult is the ultimate result we are working to create, we must keep that picture in mind with every decision we make. This is what we mean by strategically planning the holistic education of our children. ‘Reverse-engineer’ means to start with the end in mind and work backward. This desired end-product then becomes the filter for every decision you make moving forward. For example, is decision XYZ going to contribute to the overall health and thriving wellness of my child? If yes, I move forward. If no, I pass on that option.
So how does this relate to holistic education? Because, we gauge every decision we make by whether or not it will contribute to the overall health and ESPM wellness of the thriving child. Children are at school for the vast majority of their waking hours during the school year. And for that exact reason, at MMA, we believe that we have a massive responsibility to educate the whole child and look after their whole wellness to prepare them for greatness, not just stuff them full of book knowledge. And since we now know that a healthy child is the sum total of four parts (ESPM), we have a moral obligation to include education on “eating healthy” as a basic component of our school.