This morning PBS aired “What are you hungry for?” by Deepak Chopra, M.D. who shared an understanding of human nature applied to conquering weight issues and related health problems accompanying old age that requires an intimate awareness of our humanity. He explains that when we are seeking fulfillment from the act of eating foods that will never satisfy us, science tells us that this behavior can lead to changes in our body chemistry to crave them endlessly. In this regard eating can become addictive until we decide to become mindful.
Similarly, Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence encourages parents to consider addressing addiction as a normal part of life. “I believe that as humans, facing potential addictive behavior is a normal thing for all of us,” he said. “Addiction can take on many forms, some very unhealthy like with drugs and alcohol, but addictive behavior also takes the form of those that are not [perceived] as dangerous but are still unhealthy [and risky].”
From his experience in law enforcement Lawrence points to examples of addiction related to devices and social media which he has witnessed as fatal accidents from texting while driving, and broken relationships at home (including divorces) resulting from too much time and attention devoted to video games and internet related activities. “I submit that no one is infallible and breaking an addictive behavior is hard, challenging, and life-altering work,” he said. “In talking about addiction with our children, [keeping] an open mind to encourage more discussion is key to successfully getting the right help.”
Chopra encourages folks to consider that mindfulness (i.e., the ability to choose how to respond to your current circumstances), is the inherent human capacity to connect with your true self that is your soul which he describes as not judgmental, infinitely creative, and harbors the power of intent. Indeed, connecting and relating to the world in truth may be considered the antidote to addictive behaviors and substances of the human experience.
See related: Spiritual healing for the cyber-powered family
So what does this mindfulness look like for the modern parent? Lawrence describes the importance of setting the example for your child, and at the same time withhold judging the addictions or poor habits of others. “What I have discovered over my career in law enforcement and my being a father is that listening with an open mind about [problems] our teenagers face, and maintaining an open, non-judgmental mind is far more challenging,” he said. “As a parent I have discovered it’s very easy to listen to my teenagers and rush to judgment by offering my immediate and very biased opinion. Believe me, as a police officer for 25 years I have strong opinions about what’s right, what’s wrong, and what teenagers and young adults shouldn’t do, especially as it relates to drugs and alcohol. But I’ve also discovered that my tactic of immediately rushing to judgment did nothing more than immediately shut down honest communication. It’s not easy, but more often than not it’s best to just listen, even when it’s about addiction issues.”
For more about parenting in truth, go to: Fresh Start
To learn more about youth substance abuse prevention, go to: Coalition for Placer Youth