Welcome back to your School Wellness Ninja Training (SWNT). I hope you enjoyed the first lesson: Be Quiet and Act. This second lesson will help you learn how to be clever and sneaky, other trademark ninja characteristics.
Lesson two, attack the problem from a different angle.
People can become defensive very quickly. This is especially true with educators when you’re questioning how they manage their classroom. (I understand this a smidgen. I am married to a public school teacher.) When schools aren’t persuaded by the health angle alone, don’t give up. Speak to other issues that are outside your normal talking points.
Examples of ninja-like angles to use:
- Appeal to their desire to maintain a clean building. “You know, colored punch will dye the carpet. We should eliminate all soda and juice from classrooms to keep our school looking great.”
- Appeal to their dislike of litigation. “We really should implement a classroom food policy that protects both the students and the school.”
- Appeal to their love of increasing their instructional time. “Elaborate birthday parties are eating into instructional time and excluding some of our underprivileged students. Maybe we could phase out the cupcakes and encourage some other ways to recognize students on their birthday. I can send you a great PDF from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.” (Here’s a great list from Real Mom Nutrition.)
- Appeal to their love for data-driven approaches to education. “I just learned that kids who participate in Brain Breaks perform better at school and have fewer discipline problems. We should look into doing this. I’d love to help.”
We can present statistics about childhood obesity until we’re red in the face. But we lose our power to be effective when we are branded as “that crazy one.” The attention will be on our red face and not on the issue we’re trying to solve. Keep the discussion moving by using different creative angles. Administrators might need to see things from another perspective in order to have their “aha moment” and feel the sense of urgency. Get to know your school environment from a different angle and you’ll figure out how to appeal to the administration and teachers. You got this, Ninja.
This is good stuff for school settings. Want to learn some quiet ways to make healthy noise at home? Read my post on LiveWell Colorado’s Mom Blog.