Interview with Scott Cole: Inspiring Conscious, Happy, Active Children
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Cole, who has an amazing story and journey from being the National Aerobics Champion to the sought-after fitness expert working with Hollywood Stars, as well as schools and children around the country. Click here to listen to the live interview: Interview with Scott Cole
Below is an in-depth and very passionate article by Scott about his work with kids, parents and educators. He recently released a new DVD titled Get Fit America for Kids Live which is targeted to adults. He also has 10 great tips at the end of the article on how to get our children moving. Listen to the interview to hear him talk more about why this is so important! I appreciated his insight, passion and willingness to tell it like it is. This country is in trouble in terms of our health and Scott is encouraging us to take a stand and make a difference.
Get Fit America for Kids: Inspiring Conscious Happy Active Children
By Scott Cole
I have been working with children since 1986, and in those early years I worked with suicide prevention teens in the Dallas area—to this date the toughest audience in my career. I mention this because sometimes adults feel that a child may just be “lost” and that what we are doing for them is perhaps not “breaking through” and never will.
Believe me, that is a common feeling to have, and certainly faced with what we see in America today—children who are morbidly obese, diabetic, medicated, and experiencing ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), it is no wonder that adults and parents feel frustrated, which seems to be pushing us farther from what we need to be doing—and that is reversing this ugly sad uninspired trend of cutting time and funds for music, art, and physical education.
I can share unequivocally that when given the chance to move, express, and learn something new and different like Yoga and Tai Chi, children respond, not always when and how you want them to, but trust me, the seeds are planted and these mindful movement programs make a huge difference. By the end of my term with the suicide prevention teens, I remember one girl coming up to me, hugging me crying, “Don’t leave, I love it when you come see us.” I never forgot that.
Let us consider what are children are NOT getting:
- Healthy, organic, soil-grown food that for the most part could prevent adult-onset diabetes and obesity.
- Movement in all forms: Dance, Yoga, Tai Chi, Physical Education and PLAY every day. Children NEED to breathe, move, express, scream, and ultimately experience healthy quiet time.
- Nature Experience: Outdoors, or certainly learning about Nature through “field trips” as we used to call them.
- Healthy levels of TOUCH, both from adults and their peers. Activities that involve touch and physical/social communication are needed now more than ever as children bury their heads in video games, computers, cell phones, instead of looking into the eyes of their friends and touching each other in healthy play or activity.
- Support at home and in school: The United States is #36 on the longevity list worldwide (tied with Cuba according to the United Nations list), and is the most obese nation on Earth. This translates into adults who have the same issues in charge of making decisions to prevent the current generation from having the problems we have.
America’s current in-home and educational landscape isn’t coming close to any viable solution until concerned adults (WE) take charge of it at ALL levels.
Let us consider addressing what children today NEED:
1) First off, we need to make it MANDATORY that organic REAL food is served in schools, and have the children take an active part in learning about food, crops, and conscious farming. No more corn subsidized fructose corn syrup in drinks and fruit cocktails, no more packaged nutrient-less slop, no more low-quality after-thought beef and chicken fingers, and all soda machines should be eliminated. Not the most popular decision I know, but AMERICA IS ADDICTED to this “STUFF” that isn’t real food, and our bodies are in rebellion. If children had normal levels of blood sugar, and are not doctored up by medication or addictive fast-food and sugars, ADHD would be reduced and we would start to see healthy alert, active children re-emerging. The problem arises in budget and corporations that bid for these contracts, promising more for less dollars, and inevitably it is about profit, not about providing great food for our kids.
If anything should be subsidized by the government, it should be food for our public schools, but organized by a non-corporate committee of nutritionists, parents, organic farmers, and educators.
2) Next, we need to implement all forms of movement and PE in schools: Yoga, Tai Chi, Sports, Kickball, and Creative Play. We just need to get our kids moving and playing again! Whoever decided that eliminating PE would make our children “study more” has never dealt with children. Once children play, emote, and express, they are more likely to actually WANT to sit down and read a book, study, or be quiet.
3) Children need to learn more about their surroundings, from farming to crops to geography to nature. Whenever I do the Get Fit America in-school assemblies, I teach barefoot, and if allowed by the school, the children are allowed to take their shoes off too. This ALONE is a big adventure that gets the children excited to play and learn. It still amazes me that something so natural and simple is not the norm anymore. We talk about feeling the earth, listening to and becoming aware of Nature, and how our bodies are designed to touch and feel through the feet and hands, all incorporated with the movement and exercise.
4) Touch is vital for any person. Touch deprivation can contribute to depression, loneliness, and anti-social behavior that can manifest in a lifetime of discomfort around others. After I have the children moving for awhile in the school assemblies, I then introduce a Partnered section of the program where the children get to touch, do mirrored-image movement, and learn to stretch and trust each other. I tell them, “If you let go of your partner you are letting go of yourself.” Most of them get the lesson.
5) Adults need to do their part and understand that even if we don’t get the lessons of healthy living, it is VITAL for us to make choices that will influence our children for the better.
American obesity is an addiction, and adult onset diabetes is preventable, so unless we want to watch people age, become medically dependent, become lethargic, depressed, and inactive, then we need to turn this big ship around and get back on course to dock in an environment that will have clean pure water, organic healthy food, mindful exercise and creative encouragement as standard fuel for a healthy life.
Parents, teachers, educators, and concerned adults need to play an active part in each community, as part of an expressive society that both honors and cherishes our children enough to give them the tools to become the healthiest, most mindful, articulate, compassionate generation ever.
Get Fit America TOP TEN ACTIVITY MOTIVATORS FOR KIDS
- Walk: Anywhere, anytime, with friends and supervised if needed
- Jump Rope: Great for coordination and fun to do
- Dance: Learn a new Hip-Hop routine and perform it
- Play Sports: Solo and interactive, wonderful for social skills and self-esteem
- Stretch or Do Yoga: Different poses are fun to try, learning proper breathing and focus
- Learn Martial Arts: Tai chi, taekwondo, karate, judo teach self-respect and discipline
- Garden and Build: Dig holes, build a flowerbed, create a stone pathway, plant, get your hands in the soil
- Get Active Outdoors: Create an obstacle course, hopscotch, climb trees, hike
- Play in the Water: Lakes, beaches, and pools, enjoy swimming, building sandcastles, tromping through the mud
- Sketch, Draw, or Create: Draw your favorite Yoga pose, sketch your feelings, see www.getfitamerica.us to see other children’s drawings from the school assemblies
Scott Cole is a former National Aerobic Champion, star of Abs of Steel, and creator of the top-selling Discover Tai Chi series for adults. His work with children began in 1986 with suicide-prevention abused children, which won him an AFAA Notable Award. Cole continued to fine-tune his in-school assemblies and has taught children in Texas, California, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, and Wisconsin.
Get Fit America for Kids original NAPPA Award-winning workout DVD and the ALL-NEW Get Fit America for Kids LIVE!!! Adults for Kids Educational DVD is available through www.scottcole.com and www.getfitamerica.us .