Question: why do we do what we do when we know what we know? Why aren’t we doing what we know we should be doing? Why don’t we exercise regularly when we know that we should? Why do we eat what we eat when we know better? I think these patterns are often established very early in life; they become habits, and old habits are extremely difficult to change.
Years ago, when our family was young, poor, and living in Las Vegas, I woke our five small children up on a Saturday morning and told them to get dressed because Dad was going to take them for a real treat. We piled them in our old station wagon and took them to the Circus Circus Casino for a special outing.
In we went, with our wide-eyed brood in tow. They’d never seen anything so big and exciting in their lives. We made our way through the Casino to the world famous breakfast buffet. There, laid out before us, was a stadium-sized room with table after table filled with a sumptuous feast fit for a king. It was the Disneyland of food. Fresh fruits and vegetables cut in fun shapes, pancakes, waffles, eggs to order, meats, breads, muffins, cakes, yogurts, juices, and hot chocolate.
I said, “Kids, the sky’s the limit. Anything and everything you want. Go get it!” My wife and I just sat back to watch the excitement. To our surprise, or should I say horror, all five of them came back to the table with a huge bowl of Captain Crunch. Well, we had told them anything they want.
I was sure that first bowl was just an appetizer and that they would then go for the real meal. They jumped up and ran for the next course. All five of them came back with another giant bowl of Captain Crunch, and then a third. When I did suggest they try some of the fruit, juices, or muffins, they said they were too full. Man, I could have bought a big box of Captain Crunch at home and saved the trip.
That experience was pretty humorous that one time but would have been horrible if it represented their future decisions. Life really does offer us a buffet, where we can choose “anything and everything we want.” What’s tragic is that the typical adult makes choices just like my young children did. Instead of feasting on fresh fruits, healthy vegetables, clean proteins, and wholesome juices, they run to the table with energy drinks, donuts, bagels, pop tarts, burgers, and fries.
There’s an old saying, “When you pick up one end of a stick, you also pick up the other.” In other words, though we have our free agency, with every decision we are also reaping its associated consequences. It’s tragic that so many have chosen to eat a diet that results in consequences like poor health, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
I’m glad to report that my kids have all outgrown their Captain Crunch phase and picked up the wholesome nutrition stick that has health, energy, and longevity on the other end. The question is, what about you?