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December means a lot of things: the end of one year and the start of a new one, really cold weather (for some of you), holiday music, family gatherings, frenzied shopping, cooking, special traditions…the list goes on. My favorite part about this time of year though, despite the hectic pace, is that regular events become so much more memorable; ordinary things become full of meaning. Gathering around the table suddenly becomes an event. Cooking certain food both brings back old memories and creates new ones. A tree or other simple objects take on deep religious or familial significance. Basically, everything ordinary becomes special, because of the people we share it with and the way we ritualize it.
While it wasn’t my original intention, ordinary moments are transformed into really memorable ones all the time during my seminars. The general spirit of Healthy Chats is to find a way to make the present moment become ‘teachable’; a regular activity is transformed into a significant, shared, and educational event when you decide to start a conversation with your child – about health, values, about anything. Memories can be made and bonds between family members can be strengthened through the most simple of acts, with just a few words.
This December, I wish you and yours happy family gatherings, celebrations, and traditions, however you may practice them. I also wish you Healthy Chats with your children.
What makes a moment a Healthy Chats Moment? Well, it becomes ‘teachable’; a regular activity is transformed into a significant, shared, and educational event. A car ride or dinner date or shared breakfast can turn into a conversation your child may never, ever forget. Memories can be made and bonds between family members can be strengthened through the most simple of acts, with just a few words. For example: when I teach my Mother-Daughter Seminars, there’s nothing too special going on: a group of females are gathering in a room together. It’s the attention everyone in the room is paying that makes it meaningful, it’s the sharing of time between family members that makes it memorable, and for my part, it’s the sharing of information that makes it so important. A simple gathering turns into (or ideally, continues) a tradition of conversations between mothers and daughters about health, life, and sexuality. A tradition that comes more than once a year, let’s hope!
Healthy Chats was conceived with a similar transformative spirit in mind, and the holidays are a great – I repeat Great! – opportunity to turn a regular moment into a Healthy Chats Moment.
Founder of Healthy Chats, Dr. Chrystal de Freitas is a pediatrician, author and mother of three children who has a special interest in health education. She completed her pediatric training at the University of Washington, in Seattle, WA, and has been in private practice for 22 years. She practiced with North County Health Services in Encinitas, for 6 years. In 2004, Dr. de Freitas opened her solo private practice of pediatrics, Carmel Valley Pediatrics in San Diego, CA.